The familiar and the strange: Gender assignment in Spanish/English mixed DPs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This study examines gender assignment in Spanish/English mixed DPs. In these DPs, heritage speakers of Spanish have the choice of using the feminine or masculine determiner with an English noun (e.g., (1) la table or (2) el table). However, there is no gender agreement between the Spanish determiner and English noun. According to Liceras et al. (2008), this is solved by using the masculine determiner, el; it is not specified for gender (Harris, 1991). Other studies (Jake et al., 2002) have shown that heritage speakers do use the feminine determiner in mixed DPs such as (1). I argue that the feminine determiner is used with English nouns that are feminine in Spanish and are part of the familial domain.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCode-switching – Experimental Answers to Theoretical Questions
Subtitle of host publicationIn honor of Kay González-Vilbazo
EditorsLuis López
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
ISBN (Electronic)9789027263544
ISBN (Print)9789027201447
StatePublished - Nov 16 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameIssues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics
ISSN (Print)2213-3887


  • gender
  • heritage speakers
  • determiner phrase
  • Spanish/English


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