When articles have different meanings: Acquiring the expression of genericity in English and Brazilian Portuguese

Tania Ionin, Elaine Grolla, Silvina Montrul, Hélade Santos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This paper reports on an experimental study of the expression of genericity in the acquisition of English by native speakers of Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, and in the acquisition of Brazilian Portuguese by native speakers of English and Spanish. English, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese exhibita threeway distinction in terms of which NP types are allowed with generic and kind interpretations. This difference leads to specific, testable predictions for the effects of cross-linguistic influence on the expression of genericity in second language acquisition. These predictions are tested in a small-scale study, by means of a written, context-based Acceptability Judgment Task. The results show that transfer from the learners' native language has a limited effect, and is overridden by considerations of register and/or input frequency. The findings pose interesting questions for further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCrosslinguistic Studies on Noun Phrase Structure and Reference
EditorsAnne Zribi-Hertz, Patricia Cabredo Hofherr
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Pages367-397
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9789004260825
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Publication series

NameSyntax and Semantics
Volume39
ISSN (Print)0092-4563

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Ionin, T., Grolla, E., Montrul, S., & Santos, H. (2014). When articles have different meanings: Acquiring the expression of genericity in English and Brazilian Portuguese. In A. Zribi-Hertz, & P. C. Hofherr (Eds.), Crosslinguistic Studies on Noun Phrase Structure and Reference (pp. 367-397). (Syntax and Semantics; Vol. 39). Brill Academic Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004260825_013