Heritage speakers of Spanish are bilingual individuals in places where Spanish is a minority language. This chapter summarizes the results of experimental studies that investigated the linguistic knowledge of Spanish heritage speakers in the United States. There has been significant emphasis on aspects of grammar that do not reach full development and end up not fully mastered—such as inflectional morphology—not all areas of grammar eventually stabilize at non-target levels. The chapter shows that some areas of the heritage grammar seem to be acquired at native-like levels, including complex structures. It focuses on these areas to illustrate the characteristics of the grammatical systems of many heritage speakers in morphology, syntax, and the related interfaces of semantics and pragmatics. Inflectional morphology carries grammatical information and is the locus of crosslinguistic variation driving syntactic differences between languages. Aspectual morphology is quite vulnerable in heritage language grammars.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Spanish as a Heritage Language
EditorsKim Potowski
ISBN (Electronic)9781315735139
ISBN (Print)9781138833883, 9780367580698
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge Spanish Language Handbooks


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