Learners' Overgeneralization of Dative Clitics to Accusative Contexts: Evidence for Prototype Effects in SLA
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This paper investigates the acquisition of the dative case by L2 learners of Spanish within the framework of Cognitive Grammar. Oral production data show that third-person dative clitics first emerge as part of rote-learned chunks with high frequency verbs like dar and gustar. Furthermore, certain thematic roles (e.g., Recipient, Experiencer) emerge earlier and are used more consistently then others (e.g., Source, Beneficiary). The results also show a clear pattern of overgeneralization of dative clitics to accusative contexts, primarily when the referent is animate. This finding suggests that learners are sensitive to the correlation between animacy and dative case marking, which may lead them to construct a mental schema of the prototypical dative participant.
Selected Proceedings of the 7th Conference on the Acquisition of Spanish and Portuguese as First and Second Languages
edited by Carol A. Klee and Timothy L. Face
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