Second language acquisition and first language attrition of Spanish subject realization and word order variation
Laura Domínguez | University of Southampton
By combining theoretical analysis and empirical investigation, this monograph investigates the status of interfaces in Minimalist linguistic theory, second language acquisition and native language attrition. Two major questions are currently under debate: (1) what exactly makes a linguistic phenomenon an ‘interface phenomenon’, and (2) what is the specific role that the interfaces play in explaining language loss and persistent problems in second language acquisition? Answers to these questions are provided by a theoretical examination of the role that economy and computational efficiency play in recent Minimalist models of the language faculty, as well as by evidence obtained in two empirical studies examining the acquisition and attrition of two interface phenomena: Spanish subject realization and word order variation. The result is a new definition of ‘interface phenomena’ which deemphasizes syntactic complexity and focuses on the effect of interface interpretive conditions on syntactic structure. This work also shows that representational deficits cannot be ruled out in the acquisition and attrition of interface structures.
[Language Acquisition and Language Disorders, 55] 2013. xx, 267 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins Publishing Company
Table of Contents
List of figures | p. ix
List of tables | pp. xi–xii
Abbreviations | pp. xiii–xv
Abstract | p. xvii
Acknowledgements | pp. xix–xx
1. Linguistic interfaces and the architecture of the language faculty | pp. 1–23
2. Clause structure, subject positions and word order variation in Spanish | pp. 25–76
3. Linguistic interfaces in second language acquisition research | pp. 77–101
4. Subject realization and word order variation in non-native Spanish | pp. 103–164
5. Subject realization and word order variation in adult bilingual grammars under attrition | pp. 165–209
6. Summary of findings and implications | pp. 211–227
Name index | pp. 263–264
Subject index | pp. 265–268
“This book is a wonderful example of how combining data sets across different types of learning groups, in this case mainly adult second language learners and native-language attriters, demonstrates more combined than the data sets do in isolation. Domínguez’s impressive and exhaustive analysis is based on formal linguistic theory. She does an exceptional job of covering the history of studies on subject realization and word order variation, mainly in Spanish, providing new data from carefully designed methodologies that together challenge seemingly accepted norms. She argues effectively that the sum total of available data, including her own, do not seem to lend unambiguous support to the Interface Hypothesis, showing, alternatively, that non-native acquisition and native-language attrition are complex phenomena that cannot be captured simply by postulating that the interface between syntax and its discourse interpretability is the sole or default domain of inherently difficulty. She offers a revised view of “interface” problems, which leads us away from syntactic complexity and focuses, rather, on the interpretive conditions for syntactic representation. This view seemingly can account for issues noted in the literature, e.g. where they are predicted to not obtain as is the clear case of narrow syntactic native attrition in adulthood. This is a must have book for anyone interested in adult acquisition and attrition, irrespective of the particular language focus of one’s research.”
Jason Rothman, University of Reading
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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 11 september 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.
Main BIC Subject
CFDM: Bilingualism & multilingualism
Main BISAC Subject
LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General