Chapter published in:Psycholinguistic Approaches to Production and Comprehension in Bilingual Adults and Children
Edited by Leigh Fernandez, Kalliopi Katsika, Maialen Iraola Azpiroz and Shanley E.M. Allen
[Benjamins Current Topics 117] 2021
► pp. 159–186
Child heritage speakers’ production and comprehension of direct object clitic gender in Spanish
This study investigates 37 child heritage speakers’ direct object (DO) clitics in Spanish. Results from a production task show that DO expression versus omission was related to Spanish vocabulary: the lower the vocabulary score, the more omitted DOs. In contrast, DO clitic gender was related to English: children who used more English in the home and who had higher English vocabulary scores produced more gender mismatches, most notably lo referring to feminine referents. Results from a comprehension task suggest that children do not attend to clitic gender for referent identification. We argue that the disambiguation function of DO clitic gender, which is infrequent in discourse, may take a long time to develop. Overall, the study suggests that the extent to which restricted input and crosslinguistic influence affect child heritage speakers’ minority language grammar may be mediated by the nature of the linguistic phenomenon in question.
Keywords: clitic gender, direct object clitics, child heritage speakers, heritage language acquisition, Spanish-English bilingualism
- 2.Grammatical gender in Spanish
- 3.Children’s acquisition of grammatical gender
- 3.1Children’s production of grammatical gender
- 3.2Children’s comprehension of grammatical gender
- 3.3Summary of previous research on children’s acquisition of grammatical gender
- 4.Research questions
- 5.1Child participants
- 5.2Adult participants
- 5.3Materials and procedures
- 6.Results: Standardized vocabulary scores
- 7.Results: DO clitic tasks
- 7.1DO omission in lo/la production task
- 7.2DO clitic gender in lo/la production task
- 7.3Results: Lo-la comprehension
- 7.4Summary of results
- 8.1The impact of restricted input and contact-induced change on DO clitic production
- 8.2Comprehension of DO clitic gender
Published online: 14 July 2021
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