THE INTERPRETATION AND PRODUCTION OF INALIENABLE POSSESSION IN L2 AND HERITAGE SPANISH
This study examines the interpretation and production of inalienable possession among heritage speakers and L2 learners of Spanish. Inalienable possession lies at the syntax-semantics interface and has previously been found to be challenging among bilingual populations (Giancaspro & Sánchez, 2019; Montrul & Ionin, 2010, 2012; Pérez-Leroux et al., 2002). In particular, this study explores the extent to which Spanish heritage speakers and L2 learners exhibit knowledge of Spanish inalienable possession with pronominal verbs requiring the use of the clitic se. Results from an Elicited Production Task and a Contextualized Preference Task administered online showed that the L2 learners followed a distinct pattern of response compared to the native speakers in the production and interpretation of inalienable possession. This pattern was characterized by the preference of possessive determiners over definite determiners. Heritage speakers, on the contrary, were not found to differ from the native speakers of Spanish. They behaved similarly to the control group as they followed the continuum that emerged for inalienable possession. That is, both groups were more accepting of definite determiners, while they showed less preference for structures with possessive determiners. The findings are discussed in terms of current debates on the role of factors involved in language acquisition such as maturational issues, learning experience, patterns of language exposure and usage, cross-linguistic influence, and the grammatical structure itself.
- Master of Arts
- West Lafayette