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  • Matthew Kanwit (a1) and Kimberly L. Geeslin (a2)

The Spanish mood contrast is a good test case for research on acquiring form-meaning connections in contexts where input is variable and multiple areas of the grammar are implicated (e.g., syntax, semantics, pragmatics). Nevertheless, research on interpretation of this contrast lags and little is known about how individual lexical items and patterns of co-occurrence of adverbial clauses with subjunctive forms influence interpretation. Addressing this void, we compare interpretation of the present subjunctive by native speakers (NSs) and nonnative speakers (NNSs) at three relatively high levels of experience. Participants completed an interpretation task containing clauses with indicative and subjunctive forms paired with one of six adverbial conjunctions, categorized as co-occurring with subjunctive, indicative, or both forms. Our analysis suggests individual lexical items play a role in morphosyntactic variation and that nuanced differences in interpretation exist for NSs and highly advanced NNSs, even on items that prescriptively co-occur with only one form.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Matthew Kanwit, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Linguistics, 2820 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. E-mail:
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We are thankful to the language learners and native Spanish speakers who participated in our study and to Juan Escalona Torres for his assistance with our frequency searches. All errors are our own.

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Studies in Second Language Acquisition
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