Gender agreement in interface contexts in the oral production of heritage speakers of Spanish in the Netherlands
In this paper we present an analysis of Spanish heritage speakers’ oral production of gender agreement outside the DP as an innovative source of support for the Interface Hypothesis (Sorace & Filiaci 2006). We demonstrate that, besides commonly known factors such as the gender, animacy and morphology of the antecedent, the interface domain in which gender agreement takes place also seems to play a role in how accurately heritage speakers apply gender agreement. Pronominal reference, located at the external syntax-discourse interface, turns out to be more problematic than adjectival predication, which pertains to the internal morpho-syntax interface. Furthermore, we discuss the possibility that, besides the amount of input heritage speakers receive, the quality of this input may also play a role in their gender agreement accuracy, given that the heritage speakers’ error pattern with respect to linguistic factors is very similar to that of first generation immigrants.
Keywords: Spanish, Heritage speakers, Interface Hypothesis, gender agreement
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