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ERIC Number: EJ921575
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISSN: ISSN-1550-7076
Transfer Effects at the Syntax-Semantics Interface: The Case of Double-"que" Questions in Heritage Spanish
Cuza, Alejandro; Frank, Joshua
Heritage Language Journal, v8 n1 p66-89 Spr 2011
This study examines the role of transfer from English in the acquisition of double-que questions in Spanish among 17 heritage speakers in the US. Results from an elicited production task, an acceptability judgment task and a preference task revealed significant difficulties in the production and acceptability of double-"que" questions. In contrast with interface vulnerability approaches suggesting no difficulties at the syntax-semantics interface, the participants showed a decreased level of use of double-"que" structures and no distinction in their acceptability of statements versus questions. However, results from the preference task showed sensitivity to double-"que" questions among 10 of 17 heritage speakers. It appears that only when the two structures are presented together were the heritage speakers able to perceive the semantic shift introduced by the double-"que". The results suggest that transfer from the other language prevents the complete acquisition of these properties even at high levels of bilingual proficiency. (Contains 5 notes, 3 tables, and 3 figures.)
National Heritage Language Resource Center and UC Consortium for Language Learning & Teaching. 1333 Rolfe Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1411. Tel: 310-825-1138; Fax: 310-206-5183; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A