Edited by Dalila Ayoun
[Studies in Bilingualism 63] 2022
► pp. 71–94
Previous work on the acquisition of grammatical gender in child and adult heritage speakers of Spanish has found significant mismatches in gender agreement stemming from overgeneralization of the masculine form to contexts in which the feminine is required. It has been argued that these divergences stem from various sources including incomplete acquisition during childhood (e.g. Montrul & Potowski, 2007; Montrul, Foote, & Perpiñan, 2008), form/meaning mapping issues (e.g. Alarcón, 2011) or reconfiguration of gender features (e.g. Cuza & Pérez-Tattam, 2016; Scontras, Polinsky, & Fuchs, 2018). The goal of the present chapter is to examine this previous work on grammatical gender and the extent to which it can shed light on more recent proposals on heritage language theorizing. We follow the Bilingual Alignment Approach (Sánchez, 2019) to argue that the divergences heritage speakers show can be better accounted for in relation to crosslinguistic influence at the level of bilingual alignments, linguistic proficiency and specific patterns of language exposure and usage.