Edited by Sara L. Zahler, Avizia Y. Long and Bret Linford
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 37] 2023
► pp. 292–320
Empirical research has reported differential effects of proficiency level on acquisition in the study-abroad (SA) context. We tested whether pre-SA proficiency influences learners’ acquisition of variable structures during SA, analyzing Spanish future-time expression, a structure conveyed through multiple forms with distributions that differ regionally.
We surveyed English-speaking learners of Spanish who participated in 7-week programs in Valencia, Spain and Mérida, Mexico, whom we compared with local native speakers of Spanish. Before and after SA, learners completed a contextualized preference task created to examine variable future forms. Mixed-effects regressions revealed that, although learners generally approximated local targets, development according to proficiency level was not uniform, indicating the complex role of proficiency across grammatical structures and geographic regions.