Online processing of subject pronouns in monolingual and heritage bilingual speakers of Mexican Spanish

Gregory D. Keating, Jill Jegerski, Bill VanPatten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this self-paced reading study, we first tested the cross-linguistic validity of the position of antecedent strategy proposed for anaphora resolution in Italian (Carminati, 2002) in a Latin American variety of Spanish. We then examined the application of this strategy by Spanish heritage speakers of the same dialect who were largely English dominant. Forty-five monolingual speakers of Mexican Spanish and 28 Spanish heritage speakers of Mexican descent read sentences in which null and overt subject pronouns were biased for and against expected antecedent biases. Our results suggest that Mexican monolinguals display distinct antecedent biases for null and overt pronouns. Furthermore, the Spanish heritage speakers, though not monolingual-like, did not violate discourse constraints on the resolution of overt pronouns, contra the findings of offline research (see Keating, VanPatten and Jegerski, 2011). We discuss the findings in terms of a processing-based account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-49
Number of pages14
JournalBilingualism
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Mexican Spanish
  • heritage speakers
  • null subjects
  • overt subjects
  • position of antecedent strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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