Edited by Ingo Feldhausen, Martin Elsig, Imme Kuchenbrandt and Mareike Neuhaus
[Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 15] 2019
► pp. 256–274
Chapter 13. From a Romance null subject grammar to a non-null subject grammar
The syntax of pronominal subjects in advanced and near-native English
This study investigates the acquisition of pronominal subjects by advanced and near-native speakers of English whose L1s are European Portuguese (EP), a null subject language (NSL), and French, a non-NSL (NNSL). Two experimental tasks were used: a drag-and-drop task and a speeded acceptability judgement task. Results show that the EP speakers who have an advanced level of English fail to reject expletive and [ animate] null subjects in the speeded task. In contrast, those who are at a near-native level behave native-like across all tasks, just as French speakers do. These findings indicate that the syntax of subjects is acquirable in L1 NSL-L2 NNSL pairings, despite giving rise to significant developmental delays. Developmental problems are argued to result from input misanalysis.
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