Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

MORPHOLOGICAL ERRORS IN SPANISH SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNERS AND HERITAGE SPEAKERS

  • Silvina Montrul (a1)

Abstract

Morphological variability and the source of these errors have been intensely debated in SLA. A recurrent finding is that postpuberty second language (L2) learners often omit or use the wrong affix for nominal and verbal inflections in oral production but less so in written tasks. According to the missing surface inflection hypothesis, L2 learners have intact functional projections, but errors stem from problems during production only (a mapping or processing deficit). This article shows that morphological variability is also characteristic of heritage speakers (early bilinguals of ethnic minority languages) who were exposed to the family language naturalistically in early childhood but failed to acquire age-appropriate linguistic competence in the language. However, because errors in heritage speakers are more frequent in written than in oral tasks, the missing surface inflection hypothesis does not apply to them. The discussion considers how morphological errors in the two populations seem to be related to the type of experience.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Address correspondence to: Silvina Montrul, Department of Linguistics and Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 4080 Foreign Languages Building, MC-176, 707 South Mathews Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801; e-mail: montrul@uiuc.edu.

References

Hide All
Bley-Vroman, R. (1989). The logical problem of second language learning. In Gass, S. & Schachter, J. (Eds.), Linguistic perspectives on second language acquisition (pp. 41–68). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Bley-Vroman, R. (2009). The evolving context of the fundamental difference hypothesis. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 31, 175–198.
Bock, K. (1995). Sentence production: From mind to mouth. In Miller, J. L. & Eimas, P. D. (Eds.), Handbook of perception and cognition: Vol. 11. Speech, language, and communication (pp. 181–216). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Bowles, M., & Montrul, S. (2009). Instructed L2 acquisition of differential object marking in Spanish. In Leow, R., Campos, H., & Lardiere, D. (Eds.), Little words: Their history, phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and acquisition (pp. 199–110). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Bruhn de Garavito, J., & White, L. (2003). The L2 acquisition of Spanish DPs: The status of grammatical features. In Pérez-Leroux, A. T. & Liceras, J. (Eds.), The acquisition of Spanish morphosyntax: The L1/L2 connection (pp. 151–176). Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Clahsen, H., & Muysken, P. (1986). The UG paradox in L2 acquisition. Second Language Research, 5, 1–29.
Collentine, J. (1995). The development of complex syntax and mood selection abilities by intermediate level learners of Spanish. Hispania, 78, 122–135.
Colombi, C. (1997). Perfil del discurso escrito en textos de hispanohablantes: Teoría y práctica [Profile of written discourse in texts of Spanish speakers: Theory and practice]. In Colombi, M. C. & Alarcón, F. (Eds.), La enseñanza del español a hispanohablantes (pp. 175–189). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
DeKeyser, R. (2000). The robustness of critical period effects in second language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 22, 499–534.
DeKeyser, R. (2003). Implicit and explicit learning. In Doughty, C. & Long, M. (Eds.), The handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 313–348). Oxford: Blackwell.
Dell, G. (1995). Speaking and misspeaking. In Gleitman, L. & Lieberman, M. (Eds.), Language: An invitation to cognitive science (Vol. 1, pp. 183–208). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Ellis, N. C. (2005). At the interface: Dynamic interactions of implicit and explicit language knowledge. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 27, 305–352.
Epstein, S., Flynn, S., & Martohardjono, G. (1996). Second language acquisition: Theoretical and experimental issues in contemporary research. Brain and Behavioral Sciences, 19, 677–758.
Franceschina, F. (2001). Morphological or syntactic deficits in near-native speakers? An assessment of some current proposals. Second Language Research, 17, 213–247.
Franceschina, F. (2005). Fossilized second language grammars. The acquisition of grammatical gender. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Giorgi, A., & Pianesi, F. (1997). Tense and aspect: From semantics to morphosyntax. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Guijarro-Fuentes, P., & Marinis, T. (2007). Acquiring phenomena at the syntax/semantics interface in L2 Spanish: The personal preposition a. In Roberts, L., Gürel, A., Tatar, S., & Martı, L. (Eds.), EUROSLA Yearbook 7 (pp. 67–87). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Håkansson, G. (1995). Syntax and morphology in language attrition: A study of five bilingual expatriate Swedes. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 5, 153–171.
Hawkins, R. (2001). Second language syntax. Oxford: Blackwell.
Hawkins, R., & Chan, C. (1997). The partial availability of Universal Grammar in second language acquisition: The “failed functional features hypothesis.” Second Language Research, 13, 187–226.
Hawkins, R., & Liszka, S. (2003). Locating the source of defective past tense marking in advanced L2 English speakers. In van Hout, R., Hulk, A., Kuiken, F., & Towell, R. (Eds.), The lexicon-syntax interface in second language acquisition (pp. 21–44). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Hyams, N. (1996). The underspecification of functional categories in early grammar. In Clahsen, H. (Ed.), Generative perspectives on language acquisition (pp. 91–128). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Kim, J. H. (2007). Binding interpretations in adult bilingualism: A study of language transfer in L2 learners and heritage speakers of Korean. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Kondo-Brown, K. (Ed.). (2006). Heritage language development. Focus on East Asian immigrants. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Lardiere, D. (2007). Ultimate attainment in second language acquisition: A case study. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Long, M. (2007). Problems in SLA. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Marques, R. (2009). On the selection of mood in complement clauses. In Hogeweg, L., de Hoop, H., & Malchukov, A. (Eds.), Cross-linguistic semantics of tense, aspect and modality (pp. 179–204). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
McCarthy, C. (2008). Morphological variability in the comprehension of agreement: An argument for representation over computation. Second Language Research, 24, 459–486.
Meisel, J. (1997). The acquisition of the syntax of negation in French and German: Contrasting first and second language development. Second Language Research, 13, 227–263.
Montrul, S. (2002). Incomplete acquisition and attrition of Spanish tense/aspect distinctions in adult bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 5, 39–68.
Montrul, S. (2004). Subject and object expression in Spanish heritage speakers: A case of morpho-syntactic convergence. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 7, 1–18.
Montrul, S. (2007). Interpreting mood distinctions in Spanish as a heritage language. In Potowski, K. & Cameron, R. (Eds.), Spanish in contact: Policy, social and linguistic inquiries (pp. 23–40). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Montrul, S. (2008). Incomplete acquisition in bilingualism: Re-examining the age factor. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Montrul, S. (2010). Dominant language transfer in Spanish L2 learners and heritage speakers. Second Language Research, 26, 293–327.
Montrul, S., & Bowles, M. (2009). Back to basics: Differential object marking under incomplete acquisition in Spanish heritage speakers. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12, 363–383.
Montrul, S., Foote, R., & Perpiñán, S. (2008). Gender agreement in adult second language learners and Spanish heritage speakers: The effects of age and context of acquisition. Language Learning, 58, 503–553.
Paradis, M. (2004). A neurolinguistic theory of bilingualism. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Paradis, M. (2009). Declarative and procedural determinants of second languages. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Poletto, C. (2000). The higher functional field. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Polinsky, M. (2007). Incomplete acquisition: American Russian. Journal of Slavic Linguistics, 14, 191–262.
Polinsky, M. (2008). Russian gender under incomplete acquisition. Heritage Language Journal, 5, 1–34.
Potowski, K., Jegerski, J., & Morgan-Short, K. (2009). The effects of instruction on linguistic development in Spanish heritage language speakers. Language Learning, 59, 537–579.
Prévost, P., & White, L. (1999). Truncation and missing inflection in adult second language acquisition. In Friedman, M. A. & Rizzi, L. (Eds.), The acquisition of syntax (pp. 202–235). London: Longman.
Prévost, P., & White, L. (2000). Missing surface inflection or impairment in second language acquisition? Evidence from tense and agreement. Second Language Research, 16, 110–133.
Rothman, J. (2007) Heritage speaker competence differences, language change and input type: Inflected infinitives in heritage Brazilian Portuguese. International Journal of Bilingualism, 11, 359–389.
Schachter, J. (1990). On the issue of completeness in second language acquisition. Second Language Research, 6, 93–124.
Schwartz, B., & Sprouse, R. (1996). L2 cognitive states and the full transfer/full access hypothesis. Second Language Research, 12, 40–72.
Sharwood Smith, M. (2004). In two minds about grammar: On the interaction of linguistic and metalinguistic knowledge in performance. Transactions of the Philological Society, 102, 255–280.
Silva-Corvalán, C. (1994). Language contact and change: Spanish in Los Angeles. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Song, M., O’Grady, W., Cho, S., & Lee, M. (1997). The learning and teaching of Korean in community schools. In Kim, Y.-H. (Ed.), Korean Language in America 2 (pp. 111–127). Honolulu, HI: American Association of Teachers of Korean.
Terrell, T., Baycroft, B., & Perrone, C. (1987). The subjunctive in Spanish interlanguage: Accuracy and comprehensibility. In VanPatten, B., Dvorak, T., & Lee, J. (Eds.), Foreign language learning: A research perspective (pp. 23–48). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Torrego, E. (1998). The dependency of objects. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Truscott, J., & Sharwood Smith, M. (2004). Acquisition by processing: A modular perspective on language development. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 7, 1–20.
Tsimpli, I., & Dimitrakopoulou, M. (2007). The interpretability hypothesis: Evidence from wh-interrogatives in second language acquisition. Second Language Research, 23, 215–242.
Ullman, M. (2001). The neural basis of lexicon and grammar in first and second language: The declarative/procedural model. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 4, 105–122.
White, L., Valenzuela, E., Kozlowska-Macgregor, M., & Leung, Y.-K. I. (2004). Gender and number agreement in nonnative Spanish. Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 105–133.

MORPHOLOGICAL ERRORS IN SPANISH SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNERS AND HERITAGE SPEAKERS

  • Silvina Montrul (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed