Chapter published in:Lost in Transmission: The role of attrition and input in heritage language development
Edited by Bernhard Brehmer and Jeanine Treffers-Daller
[Studies in Bilingualism 59] 2020
► pp. 126–150
Gender agreement in Spanish L2 learners and heritage speakers
This paper examines the effect of language contact on the knowledge of Spanish gender assignment and agreement in adult second language learners and simultaneous bilinguals (heritage speakers of Spanish), all residing in the Geneva area of New York State. The data comes from 27 English-speaking learners of Spanish and 27 bilingual speakers, who completed a grammatical judgment task (GJT) and an oral elicitation production task (OPT). In particular, the paper investigates whether the successful acquisition of gender is dependent on the extent of exposure to the target language. The results show successful acquisition of gender assignment and agreement in all groups. In addition, the findings indicate that the extent to which Spanish is used seems to affect the gender accuracy of Spanish L2 learners as opposed to heritage speakers, who perform at ceiling in the GJT and oral task regardless of the frequency of heritage language (hl) use.
Keywords: gender assignment, gender agreement, L2 learners, heritage speakers, Spanish, amount of exposure
Published online: 29 May 2020
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