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Spanish Object Expression under Incomplete L1 and L2 Acquisition Silvina Montrul University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Harvard University November.

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Presentation on theme: "Spanish Object Expression under Incomplete L1 and L2 Acquisition Silvina Montrul University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Harvard University November."— Presentation transcript:

1 Spanish Object Expression under Incomplete L1 and L2 Acquisition Silvina Montrul University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Harvard University November 5, 2007

2 2 Acknowledgements Center for Advanced Studies, UIUC Arnold Beckman Award from UIUC Campus Research Board RAs and colleagues Rebecca Foote Melissa Bowles Silvia Perpiñán Brad Dennison Dan Thornhill Alyssa Martoccio Susana Vidal Lucía Alzaga

3 3 Reality of Today’s L2 classrooms (Spanish and LCTLs) Two Types of Adult Language Learners Typical L2 learners (late bilinguals) Speakers of ethnic-minority languages (early bilinguals) Increasing numbers of heritage language speakers are turning to typical L2 classrooms to learn, regain, or maintain skill in the heritage language.

4 4 L2 classrooms Having learners with different linguistic/cultural backgrounds in the same class poses serious challenges for teachers. How do we make sure that the linguistic and cultural needs and goals of both L2 learners and heritage language learners are met?

5 5 Heritage Language Practitioners Hold the belief that, in general, heritage language (HL) learners are a very heterogeneous group (even within a language) L2 learners and HL learners are different In many ways, HL learners know “more” than L2 learners who start learning the language from zero. L2 learners and HL learners should be placed in different classrooms (tracks)

6 6 Yet Any pedagogical practice must be informed by a deep understanding of what L2 learners and HL learners have and do not have in common. Basic systematic empirical research on the linguistic and cognitive abilities of heritage language learners using experimental methods is only just emerging. (HSs have been the domain of sociolinguistics)

7 7 Lynch (2003), Valdés (1997, 2006) So far, research on heritage language teaching and learning has proceeded atheoretically. Heritage Language Acquisition is in need of a theory.

8 8 Valdés ( Valdés et al. 2006, p. 119) “Second language acquisition theories, as well as traditions now guiding traditional foreign language instruction have little to say about these students and what they should be taught. Existing research on incipient or developing bilingualism in foreign or second languages is of little relevance to teachers of heritage students. Moreover, views about second language (L2) developmental sequences and second language (L2) proficiency hierarchies can contribute little to the understanding of the instructional needs of this population. Taking on the challenge of maintaining and developing existing language resources among immigrants, refugees, and their children will involve a dramatic shift in focus by the profession. The dimensions of this shift in orientation can perhaps best be appreciated by comparing the characteristics of traditional foreign language students with those of the new target population of immigrant students.”

9 9 Second Language Acquisition Current theoretical views/theories of (L1 and) L2 Acquisition are VERY relevant to approach and explain the nature of linguistic knowledge in both L2 learners and heritage speakers. Heritage language learners afford the field of second language acquisition, and linguistics more generally, a unique opportunity to evaluate, from a different perspective current claims about

10 10 The basic and essential innate and environmental ingredients for successful, complete language acquisition OR What is a mature “idealized” native speaker? At what age does one become a mature L1 speaker and under what environmental conditions?

11 11 Adult Bilingualism Late bilingualism or adult L2 acquisition L2 acquisition after puberty: foundations of the L1 are fully established Early bilingualism Simultaneous L1 acquisition : 2 languages acquired since birth or before age 3 Sequential or child L2 acquisition : L2 acquisition before puberty: foundations of the L1 are established

12 12 Typical Approach to adult SLA Comparison of child L1 with adult L2 Similarities L1 and L2 learners must construct a linguistic system based on input Differences Outcome of L1 and L2 acquisition (i.e., endstate of linguistic competence) are different Child L1 : always uniform and complete Adult L2: typically variable and incomplete

13 13 The Incompleteness Hypothesis (Bley-Vroman 1989; Clahsen & Muysken 1989; Meisel 1997; Hawkins & Chan 1997; Schachter 1990) L1 and L2 Acquisition are Fundamentally Different L1 acquisition is guided by Universal Grammar Past a critical period, L2 learners no longer have access to Universal Grammar L2 learners use general-problem solving cognitive mechanisms rather than an implicit linguistic mechanism to build a grammatical representation of the L2 Compatible with other cognitive approaches to SLA (e.g., DeKeyser 2000, 2003; Ullman 2001; Paradis 2004).

14 14 Bottomline Incomplete acquisition and impaired linguistic representations in the L2 are due to a late age of onset of acquisition. Late age of acquisition has consequences for the linguistic, neurological and cognitive mechanisms that subserve fast and efficient language acquisition that typically occurs in childhood.

15 15 Theories of Full Access (White 2003) Access to Universal Grammar is not subject to a maturational effect. Full Transfer/Full Access Hypothesis ( Schwartz & Sprouse 1996) Full Access Hypothesis ( Epstein, Flynn & Martohardjono 1996) Missing Surface Inflection Hypothesis ( Prévost & White 2000) Abstract linguistic knowledge is present but not always accessible due to a production or a processing problem.

16 16 Incomplete Acquisition 1. Developing grammars (L1, L2, bilingual) 2. Fossilized grammars (L2) Incomplete grammars (fossilized) are common in early bilingualism as well e.g., many bilingual speakers of etnnic-minority or heritage languages fail to acquire age-appropriate linguistic competence in the heritage language (their L1).

17 What are the linguistic characteristics of Heritage Language Acquisition? How does it compare with L1 and L2 acquisition?

18 18 HS look like L1 learners Early exposure to the language Naturalistic setting (aural input) Abundant input Control of features of language acquired very early in life (phonology, some vocabulary, some linguistic structures) Developmental errors Outcome is successful and complete Fossilization/stabilization does not occur. No clear role for motivation and affective factors to develop linguistic competence More complex structures, vocabulary, and pragmatic aspects of language developed at school after age 5 when metalinguistic skills emerge.

19 19 HS also look like L2 learners Late exposure to the language Instructed setting (aural and written input) Varying amount of input Developmental and transfer errors Grammar may be incomplete Outcome is variable proficiency. Fossilization is typical Motivation and affective factors play a role in language development Experience with literacy and formal instruction

20 20 L1 acquisition L2 acquisition HL acquisition

21 21 In GENERAL, HL learners (Valdés 2000, Carreira & Kagan 2007) Have good oral comprehension of the language May be able to speak the language to different degrees Have good pronunciation Have lexical gaps Make grammatical errors Poor to minimal reading and writing skills Self-identify with their ethnic community Have a strong interest in learning more about their language

22 22 Heritage speakers Received input during the Critical Period Yet, input in middle-late childhood may have been insufficient to develop full linguistic skills in the heritage language (limited literacy) Cases of L1 attrition or fossilized L1 acquisition

23 23 Research questions (1)Do Spanish heritage speakers have some advantages over post puberty L2 learners? (2)If advantages are found, are these global or selective, i.e., only found in certain grammatical domains and language skills?

24 24 Au et al. (2002), Knightly et al. (2003) Study of Spanish language overhearers (i.e., HS) and typical late L2 learners Advantages for HS were found in phonology (VOT production) but not in morphosyntax.

25 25 VOT Results Native speakers Heritage speakers L2 learners Word initial /p, t, k/ *36.2 Word medial /p, t, k/ *31.2

26 26 Accent ratings (max 5) Native speakers Heritage speakers L2 learners voiceless /p,t,k/ 4.3 a 3.5 b 2.2 c voiced /b,d,g/ 4.4 a 3.3 b 2.7 c

27 27 Knightly et al. (2003) No differences

28 28 Other Findings Au et al (2002), Knightly et al (2003) Studied very low proficiency Korean and Spanish heritage speakers and L2 learners. Advantages for HS were found in phonology (VOT production) but not in morphosyntax. Håkansson (1995) Swedish expatriates and L2 learners of Swedish. Swedish expatriates compared to native speakers on V2 order. L2 learners produced above 80% SV order instead of V2. gender agreement: L2 learners outperformed the Swedish expatriates Montrul (2005) Studied advanced, intermediate and low proficiency Spanish L2 learners and heritage speakers’ knowledge of lexico-semantic and syntactic properties of unaccusativity (intransitive verbs) Advantages were found for low proficiency HS. Montrul (2006) Heritage speakers are better than L2 learners with some aspects of the Null Subject parameter (word order, agreement)

29 29 3 Features of Spanish Object Expression 1.Clitic pronouns 2.Variable word order 3.Differential object marking

30 30 1. Clitic Placement Object clitics precede finite verbs (1) Patricia vio la novela. Patricia saw the soap opera ‘Patricia saw the soap opera.’ (2) Patricia la vio. vs. * Patricia vio la. Patricia it saw ‘Patricia saw it.’

31 31 Object clitics follow non-finite verbs (3) Ana canta la canción sin entenderla bien. *Ana canta la canción sin la entender bien. ‘Ana sings the song without understanding it well.’ In restructuring contexts, Spanish clitics can climb up to the finite verb or stay low next to the infinitive. (4) Olga lo puede comprar. Olga puede comprarlo. *Olga puede lo comprar ‘Olga can buy it.’

32 32 2. Word Order Postverbal Subjects (5) La mujer lo besa. S-Ocl-V Lo besa la mujer. Ocl-V-S ‘The woman kisses him.’ Topicalizations: Clitic Left Dislocations (6) a.Juan tiene las carpetas en la oficina. S-V-O b. Las carpetas las tiene Juan en la oficina. O-cl-V-S ‘Juan has the folders in the office.’

33 33 3. Differential Object Marking (DOM) In general, Spanish objects that are [+ specific] and [+animate] are marked with the dative preposition A. (7) Juan vio a María.[+animate, + specific] Juan saw A Maria *Juan vio María ‘Juan saw Maria.’

34 34 Other objects are unmarked (8) Juan vio el tren. [-animate, +specific] ‘Juan saw the train.’ (9) Juan necesita un abogado. [+ animate, - specific] ‘Juan needs a lawyer.’ (10) El huracán destruyó una ciudad. [-animate, - specific] ‘The hurricane destroyed a city.’

35 35 Semantic notions like specificity, agentivity, telicity and topicality seem to play a role in explaining the optionality of A with animate and inanimate objects (Aissen 2003; Torrego 1998; Leonetti 2004).

36 36 Some Theoretical Assumptions In Romance languages, object clitics head their own functional projections (Uriagereka 1995). Clitic Left Dislocations are part of the left-periphery of the clause (CP and higher functional projections that interface with pragmatics). DOM is marked accusative case (Torrego 1998): inherent, semantically based accusative case; the dative preposition is a functional category. Marked objects move outside the VP.

37 37 Contact Language: English lacks clitic projections; has stricter S-V-O order (although it has topicalizations); does not have DOM.

38 38 L1 acquisition Clitic pronouns and DOM with animate and specific direct objects are acquired before the age of 3 (López Ornat 1994; Domínguez 2003; Rodríguez-Mondoñedo 2006) Clitic-climbing emerges in Spanish speaking children between 2;00-2;8 (Rodríguez-Mondoñedo, Snyder and Sugisaki 2005) Topicalizations emerge soon afterwards, by the age of 3. (Grinstead 2004)

39 39 L2 Acquisition Beginner and Intermediate L2 learners make clitic-placement errors (especially if L1 is French) (Liceras 1986, Bruhn-Garavito & Montrul 1996) have problems interpreting clitics and objects with alternative word orders (VanPatten & Cadierno 1993) do not recognize DOM in Spanish (Farley & McCollam 2004) Advanced L2 learners eventually acquire clitics and clitic placement in Spanish (Duffield & White 1999) have residual problems with topicalizations (Valenzuela 2006)

40 40 Spanish Heritage Speakers (Silva-Corvalán 1994, Montrul 2004) Robust control of the object clitic system (accusative and dative structural case) Omission of DOM in oral production Group% a-omission (*NP) Control0 Advanced HSs6 Interm. HSs 21.3

41 41 Hypotheses Critical Period Position Heritage speakers should show evidence of parameter setting in Spanish, whereas L2 learners should show no evidence of parameter resetting in Spanish. Predictions English-speaking L2 learners should have problems with Spanish clitics, clitic placement, word order, and DOM. Spanish heritage learners should bring knowledge of clitics, clitic placement, word order, and DOM from childhood.

42 42 No Critical Period Position Parameter resetting is (eventually) possible in L2 learners regardless of age of acquisition Prediction L2 learners and HL learners will have knowledge of Spanish clitics, clitic placement, word order, and DOM. L2 learners may show transfer effects from English as predicted by the Full Transfer/Full Access Hypothesis

43 43 Method Participants 22 Spanish native speaker (baseline group) 67 US born 2 nd generation Mexican speakers (acquired English before age 6) 72 English-speaking L2 learners of Spanish L2 learners and HL learners divided into 3 proficiency groups: Low, Intermediate, Advanced (based on a short proficiency test)

44 44 Instruments 1. Elicited Production (Oral narrative) clitics, word order, DOM 2. Web-based off-line Grammaticality Judgment Task clitics, ciltic placement, word order and topicalizations, DOM 3. On-line Visual Picture-Sentence Matching Task clitics, word order

45 45 Proficiency Scores Mean 48.5 SD 1.00 range Mean SD 8.17 range Mean SD 9.24 range 16-50

46 46 Oral Narrative: Clitic production

47 47

48 48

49 49

50 50 1. Clitics and Clitic Placement GJT: 90 sentences (45 gram, 45 ungram, 18 sentence types x 5 tokens) Randomized sentences presented with a 5-point Likert scale underneath 1 = totally ungrammatical 5 = completely grammatical

51 51 Grammaticality Judgment Task ns differences

52 52 Grammaticality Judgment Task ns differences

53 53 Grammaticality Judgment Task ns differences

54 54 Grammaticality Judgment Task Differences for clitic climbing

55 55 2. Word Order (SVO vs. OVS) Grammaticality Judgment Task

56 56 On-Line Visual Picture-Sentence Matching Task Procedure Participants were presented with two pictures, A and B, on a computer screen with a sentence underneath. The pictures depicted the same action, but with the participants reversed (e.g., a boy calling his parents vs. the parents calling their son ). Participants had to decide as fast as possible which picture the sentence described, by pressing A or B on the keyboard. The target pairs of pictures appeared 4 times, with one of the following sentences with alternative word orders underneath. (The task included 20 target sentences (5 of each) and 20 distractor/fillers.) sentence types: Preverbal Subject: S-V-O and S-cl-V Preverbal Object: cl-V-S and O-cl-V-S

57 57 On-Line Visual Picture-Sentence Matching Task Preverbal Subject: Juan llama por teléfono a sus padres. (S-V-O) Sus padres lo llaman por teléfono. (S-Cl-V) Preverbal Object: Lo llaman por teléfono sus padres. (Cl-V-S) A sus padres los llama Juan por teléfono. (O-Cl-V-S)

58 58 Example from the online Visual PMT AB Lo llaman por teléfono sus padres. (Cl-V-S)

59 59 Analysis Two Factorial ANOVAs with Repeated Measures One for Accuracy, and one for Speed (RTs) Independent variables: Group (3), Proficiency Level (3), Word Order (2), Sentences (4) Accuracy: No difference between L2 learners and HS main effect for Preverbal argument Speed: HS faster than L2 learners and no different from Control main effect for preverbal argument Preverbal subject sentences faster and more accurate than Preverbal Object sentences

60 60 Overall Results Accuracy: no differences between heritage speakers and L2 learners Speed: heritage speakers faster than L2 learners

61 61 On-line Visual SPMT No effect by group Main effect by object position

62 62 On-line Visual SPMT

63 63 Summary so far L2 learners and Heritage Speakers know Spanish clitics and their placement (GJT). But heritage speakers use/produce more clitics than L2 learners. HS have an advantage over L2 learners with clitic left dislocations (GJT) HS are overall faster than L2 learners when interpreting Spanish sentences with clitics and alternative word order. They do not differ from native speaker controls in speed.

64 64 3. Differential Object Marking Main Study: Oral Narrative Grammaticality Judgment Task Follow-up study (Montrul & Bowles, under review)

65 65 Oral Narrative

66 66 Grammaticality Judgment Task

67 67 Follow-up Study with Heritage Speakers (Montrul & Bowles, under review) Written Elicited production Task GJT (similar to that of main study) Instructed Intervention (Pretest-Posttest design) 70 sentences (different sentence types) DOM sentences Animate object (grammatical, ungrammatical) Inanimate object (grammatical, ungrammatical)

68 68 DOM with animate direct objects

69 69 DOM with inanimate direct objects

70 70 Main Study HL learners are worse than L2 learners with DOM sentences in the GJT (better in production). Follow-up study Problems with DOM persist with advanced proficiency in HL learners.

71 71 Research Questions (1)Do heritage speakers have an advantage over L2 learners? YES (2) Are advantages selective? YES

72 72 Are there advantages for HS over L2 learners? CliticsWord Order DOM findingsYes No supportNo CPH (FT/FA) No CPH FT/FA neither

73 73 L2 Acquisition Results are entirely consistent with the Full Transfer/Full Access Hypothesis (White 1989; Schwartz & Sprouse 1996) although individual results need to be examined closely) Full Access: Success with clitics (parameter resetting) Full Transfer: Difficulty with word order and DOM

74 74 Heritage Language Acquisition Results are consistent with the Critical Period position HL learners have advantages over L2 learners in use and distribution of clitics, some complex areas of syntax (word order with dislocations), in oral tasks, and in on-line tasks (processing).

75 75 Input Mode and Frequency CliticsWord OrderDOM Taught in L2 classroms? yesmentioned Input frequency? Frequent in oral and written discourse More frequent in oral than in written discourse Frequent in oral and written discourse

76 76 Types of Linguistic Knowledge Cognitive and Neurolinguistic Approaches to SLA (DeKeyser 2000, 2003; Paradis 2004; Ullman 2001) Implicit vs. explicit acquired knowledge The critical period affects implicit competence L2 learners have explicit, metalinguistic knowledge at this stage of development (GJT) HS may be using implicit knowledge acquired in childhood (oral task, RT times) Support for the CPH position.

77 77 PROBLEM But what about DOM? Early acquired in L1 acquisition very frequent in input.

78 78 Linguistic Interfaces (White 2007) Grammar: Lexicon + computational system Computational system interfaces with 1)the articulatory-perceptual system (PF) 2)The conceptual-intentional system (LF) PF and LF are external interfaces

79 79 Internal Interfaces Syntax-semantics Syntax-morphology Syntax-morphology-phonology Syntax-pragmatics

80 80 Interfaces are Vulnerable Interface areas between syntax and other cognitive systems (i.e., discourse-pragmatics, lexical semantics) exhibit a great deal of developmental instability. Adult L2 acquisition: fossilization, indeterminate or incomplete representations Child bilingual acquisition: cross linguistic influence Adult L1 attrition: instability Child L1 attrition: incomplete acquisition/fossilization

81 81 Linguistic Complexity CliticsWord OrderDOM Grammatical domain SyntaxSyntax/ Pragmatics Syntax/ Semantics/ morphology Grammatical information Case/Agr referentiality Case/Agr Specificity topicality Inherent Acc Case Definiteness Specificity Animacy Telicity Affectedness A little word with a lot of meaning!

82 82 Child L1 Attrition affects DOM Sorace (2004): developmental instability in incomplete acquisition is related to the complexity of the interfaces Language attrition process Simplification, loss of restrictions, return to the basics (universals) (consistent with Jakobson’s Regression Hypothesis) Syntax is resilient, interfaces are vulnerable. Of all the structural domains tested, DOM is the most linguistically complex phenomenon.

83 83 Loss of Inherent Case Happened in the History of English (Lightfoot 1991) Has also been attested in Russian as a heritage language (Polinsky 1997, 2006) Syntactic convergence with English (probably) Convergence does not introduce new elements into the weaker language: it biases the grammar toward the selection, retention and strengthening of structures shared by the minority and majority languages (Bullock & Toribio 2004).

84 84 Conclusions The nature of Incomplete, fossilized grammars of adult early bilinguals in a language minority situation is very complex. Understanding how the linguistic knowledge of heritage speakers is different/similar to that of L2 learners will require a variety of experimental methodologies. Current theoretical approaches to SLA/Bilingualism that emphasize age of acquisition and nature and timing of input are a good starting point but cannot always predict and explain the patterns of incomplete acquisition found in adult early bilinguals, or why these differ or not from those of L2 learners. Explanations may be found in a deeper understanding of the structural complexity of the human language faculty and how it behaves during the normal processes of development and change observed in different learning contexts.

85 85 Current Research Montrul & Bowles (in under review a) Do problems with DOM in Spanish heritage speakers generalize to other instances of inherent case? Montrul & Bowles (under review b) Does explicit instruction help instructed Spanish HL learners overcome incomplete acquisition of inherent dative case? Montrul, Bhatt & Girju (in progress) Is DOM affected in other heritage languages in contact with English, such as Hindi (dative marker postposition -ko), or Romanian (marker is pe)? Are patterns of incomplete acquisition similar to those observed in Spanish heritage speakers? Does the acoustic salience of the object marker in Spanish makes it more vulnerable to language loss in this language? YES

86 86 THANK YOU!


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