Edited by Ruth E.V. Lopes, Juanito Ornelas de Avelar and Sonia M. L. Cyrino
[Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 12] 2017
► pp. 127–140
Chapter 9. Does gender agreement carry a production cost?
Spanish gender vs. Palenquero
The present study examines the tradeoff between the on-line construction of modifier-noun gender agreement and the automatization of agreement, through the study of bilingual speakers of Spanish and the Afro-Colombian creole language Palenquero, whose lexicon is highly cognate with Spanish, but which lacks gender agreement. The study focuses on L1 Spanish speakers who are acquiring Palenquero as L2, since when switching from the gender-agreeing L1 to the gender-less L2, the persistence or absence of gender agreement in cognate items can be taken as an indirect measure of the cost differential between producing morphosyntactic agreement and suppressing the carryover of obligatory agreement to the L2. The results of experiments conducted with bilingual Spanish-Palenquero speakers in San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia reveal the tenacity of Spanish gender agreement among L2 Palenquero speakers; heritage Palenquero speakers’ retention of gender agreement falls between traditional speakers and L2 speakers.
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