Chapter published in:Variation and Evolution: Aspects of language contact and contrast across the Spanish-speaking world
Edited by Sandro Sessarego, Juan J. Colomina-Almiñana and Adrián Rodríguez-Riccelli
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 29] 2020
► pp. 56–73
A corpus analysis of the structural elaboration of Spanish heritage language learners
Research on heritage language learner (HLL) grammar provides insights into bilingual developmental trajectories (Bolger & Zapata, 2011). More research is needed on the effects of cognitive processes on HLL grammar under real-time communicative pressures (Jegerski, 2017). The present corpus-based study analyzes the role of cognitive factors on HLLs’ (N = 65) production of structural elaboration (i.e., syntactic modifiers and embedding), which is cognitively challenging to monolinguals (Ferreira, 1991). The analysis of the participants’ production in an instant-messaging task indicates that, even though advanced HLLs may be fairly homogeneous in their general grammatical and lexical abilities, they vary significantly in the production of structural elaboration in syntactic frames (e.g., verb phrases with clitics, relative clauses) that interact strongly with working memory and attentional resources.
Keywords: heritage language learners, corpus, structural elaboration, cognition, Spanish
Published online: 11 August 2020
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Cited by 1 other publications
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