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International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching

Ed. by Jordens, Peter / Roberts, Leah

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Volume 54, Issue 4


Syntactic reflexes of information structure in heritage Spanish: Evidence from psych-predicate constructions

Inmaculada Gómez Soler
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures 108 Jones Hall University of Memphis Memphis TN 38152, USA
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/ Diego Pascual y Cabo
Published Online: 2016-11-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2015-0036


This study examines the status of discourse-dependent syntactic properties in Spanish heritage grammars. In particular, we focus on pragmatically-driven word order patterns with Spanish psychological predicates (e. g., gustar ‘to like’). The responses from 26 Spanish heritage speakers (as well as 8 bilingual native controls) to an aural pragmatic felicity task indicate that heritage speakers are sensitive to the nuanced discursive factors that regulate word order in Spanish psych-predicate constructions. These findings contribute to current debates over the status of interfaces in heritage grammars. Specifically, these results shed light on the factors that make certain syntax-discourse properties particularly prone to change while not others. This takes us to advocate for a finer-grained division of syntax-discourse constructions and their relation to learnability.

Keywords: heritage speaker acquisition; syntax-discourse interface; psych-verbs; given-before-new principle


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-11-02

Published in Print: 2016-11-01

Citation Information: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, Volume 54, Issue 4, Pages 291–317, ISSN (Online) 1613-4141, ISSN (Print) 0019-042X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2015-0036.

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