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Share Paper 1283

Mi mamá es bonito: Acquisition of Spanish Gender by Native English Speakers
Lisa Griebling McCowen and Scott M. Alvord
161-169 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The current study is a descriptive examination of gender agreement by native English-speaking adults learning Spanish as a foreign language. In order to examine gender usage across different task types, four instruments were designed to capture different points on a continuum of structure/openness, where greater structure entails more explicit focus on form and greater openness involves more focus on meaning. These tasks included (from most open to most structured): an individual oral interview, a video description task, a text reconstruction (dictogloss) task, and a written translation task. After the four production tasks were completed, a follow-up survey on language usage was administered. Results show that the students tended to be experiencing a bi-directional confusion about which form to use. Both overgeneralization of the masculine form and overuse of the feminine form were observed. Simplification strategies present included overgeneralization and avoidance, while phonological neutralization was scarce.

Published in

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
Table of contents
Printed edition: $220.00