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Epilogue: A tale of two copulas

  • EVE ZYZIK (a1) and SUSAN GASS (a2)

The five papers in this issue cover a range of perspectives on the acquisition and use of the Spanish copulas ser and estar in a variety of contexts, including language contact, bilingual language acquisition, and classroom second language learning. The fact that these papers cite work in this area as far back as the early part of the 20th century with each subsequent decade being represented suggests the continual importance and complexity of the distinction between the two copular forms and shows how this complexity is played out in acquisition and bilingual use. Over the past century different perspectives have been taken on this multifaceted issue with linguistic explanations and the role of the native language being primary. In this epilogue, we focus on some of these same issues, but expand our commentary to include the new dimensions represented in this collection of papers: (i) context of learning (input), (ii) prior knowledge as represented by other language(s) known, (iii) item-learning and lexical development, and (iv) innovations in methodology.

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A. Cruttenden 1981. Item-learning and system-learning. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 10, 7988.

R. Ellis 1999. Item versus system learning: Explaining free variation. Applied Linguistics, 20, 460480.

K. Geeslin & P. Guijarro-Fuentes 2006. The second language acquisition of variable structures in Spanish by Portuguese speakers. Language Learning, 56, 53107.

H. Zobl 1982. A direction for contrastive analysis: The comparative study of developmental sequences. TESOL Quarterly, 16, 169183.

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Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
  • ISSN: 1366-7289
  • EISSN: 1469-1841
  • URL: /core/journals/bilingualism-language-and-cognition
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