This study investigates whether and how English-speaking L2 learners at various proficiency levels acquire the morphosyntactic and discourse-pragmatic properties of subject expression in Spanish. The crucial question is whether discourse-pragmatic properties are acquired together with syntactic features or later in the process of interlanguage development. According to the Full Transfer/Full Access Hypothesis, transfer effects should be observed at earliest stages of development and full parameter resetting at later stages. An oral production task was administered to 15 intermediate, 15 advanced and 15 near-native learners and 20 native speakers. Results indicated that the near-native speakers performed like the native speakers with the morphosyntactic and the discourse-pragmatic properties of the Null Subject Parameter, while in intermediate and advanced learners the acquisition of these two properties were dissociated: the learners were accurate with morphosyntax and inaccurate with discourse-pragmatics.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Acquisition of Syntax in Romance Languages
EditorsVincent Torrens, Linda Escobar
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
ISBN (Electronic)9789027293497
ISBN (Print)9789027253019
StatePublished - 2006

Publication series

NameLanguage Acquisition and Language Disorders
ISSN (Print)0925-0123


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