The obligatory use of the preposition 'a' with animate, specific direct objects in Spanish (Juan conoce a María "Juan knows Maria") is a well-known instance of Differential Object Marking (dom). This study investigates the acquisition of dom by native speakers of Romanian learning Spanish. Spanish and Romanian have dom lexicalized in the prepositions 'a' (Spanish) and in 'pe' (Romanian). In the two languages dom is regulated by animacy and specificity. Thirty-two native speakers of Spanish and 36 Romanianspeaking learners of Spanish with advanced proficiency completed a written production, a written comprehension, and an acceptability judgment task. The results show that, in general, and unlike what has been found for English-speaking learners of Spanish, advanced Romanian learners of Spanish are successful at acquiring the feature specification and distribution of dom in Spanish. The findings are discussed with respect to the nature of ultimate attainment as a function of language transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-219
Number of pages35
JournalRevista Espanola de Linguistica Aplicada
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Differential object marking
  • Near native competence
  • Romanian
  • Second language acquisition
  • Spanish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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