Acrisio Pires and colleagues in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition


Feb 24, 2014 Bookmark and Share

Acrisio Pires and collaborators published a joint paper in the journal Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, on the acquisition of subject raising and the syntax of tense in L2 Spanish (English L1).

Campos-Dintrans, Gonzalo, Acrisio Pires and Jason Rothman. 2014. Subject-to-subject raising and the syntax of tense in L2 spanish: a full access approach. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 17.1: 38-55. 

This paper investigates the acquisition of syntax in L2 grammars. We tested adult L2 speakers of Spanish (English L1) on the feature specification of T(ense), which is different in English and Spanish in so-called subject-to-subject raising structures. We present experimental results with the verb parecer “to seem/to appear” in different tenses, with and without experiencers, and with Tense Phrase (TP), verb phrase (vP) and Adjectival Phrase (AP) complements. The results show that advanced L2 learners can perform just like native Spanish speakers regarding grammatical knowledge in this domain, although the subtle differences between both languages are not explicitly taught. We argue that these results support Full Access approaches to Universal Grammar (UG) in L2 acquisition, by providing evidence that uninterpretable syntactic features can be learned in adult L2, even when such features are not directly instantiated in the same grammatical domain in the L1 grammar.