Narrow presentational focus in heritage Spanish and the syntax‒discourse interface
The grammars of bilinguals have been found to differ from those of monolinguals especially with regard to phenomena that involve the interface of syntax and discourse/pragmatics. This paper examines one syntax‒discourse interface phenomenon – presentational focus – in the grammars of heritage speakers of Spanish. The results of a contextualized acceptability judgment task indicate that lower proficiency heritage speakers show some variability in the structures they accept to realize focus, whereas higher proficiency heritage bilinguals pattern with monolinguals. These results suggest that some explanations of domain-specific vulnerability in bilingual grammars, including the Interface Hypothesis (Sorace, 2011), may need to be revised.
Keywords: focus, heritage speakers, Interface Hypothesis, syntax‒discourse interface, Spanish
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