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Clitic-doubled left dislocation and focus fronting in L2 Spanish: A case of successful acquisition at the syntax-discourse interface

Roumyana Slabakova, Paula Kempchinsky and Jason Rothman
Second Language Research
Vol. 28, No. 3 (July 2012), pp. 319-343
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43103899
Page Count: 25
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Clitic-doubled left dislocation and focus fronting in L2 Spanish: A case of successful acquisition at the syntax-discourse interface
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Abstract

This experimental study tests the Interface Hypothesis by looking into processes at the syntaxdiscourse interface, teasing apart acquisition of syntactic, semantic and discourse knowledge. Adopting Lopez's (2009) pragmatic features [± a(naphor)] and [±c(ontrast)], which in combination account for the constructions of dislocation and fronting, we tested clitic left dislocation and fronted focus in the comprehension of English native speakers learning Spanish. Furthermore, we tested knowledge of an additional semantic property: the relationship between the discourse anaphor and the antecedent in clitic left dislocation (CLLD). This relationship is free: it can be subset, superset, part/whole. Syntactic knowledge of clitics was a condition for inclusion in the main test. Our findings indicate that all learners are sensitive to the semantic constraints.While the near-native speakers display native-like discourse knowledge, the advanced speakers demonstrated some discourse knowledge, and intermediate learners did not display any discourse knowledge. The findings support as well as challenge the Interface Hypothesis.

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