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Knowledge of Noun-Drop across Various Lexical and Functional Categories in Heritage Spanish Bilinguals
Michael Iverson
98-106 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The Interface Vulnerability Hypothesis states that interfaces, points in the grammar that require the integration of knowledge from multiple linguistic modules, are inherently more complex, and that their acquisition and use can be problematic, resulting in delays, fossilization, susceptibility to cross-linguistic influence, and attrition. Conversely, it claims that narrow syntactic properties should be acquired straightforwardly, that those who have acquired these properties should demonstrate full knowledge of them, and that these properties should not be subject to the same problems seen with interface properties. With respect to heritage language speakers, it predicts that the status of a particular property of a language as either an interfaced-conditioned property or one housed strictly within the narrow syntax is a better predictor of full knowledge of that property than the proficiency of a given heritage speaker. The data herein examine advanced and intermediate proficiency heritage speaker knowledge of noun drop, a syntactic reflex of the acquisition of gender features; it is a narrow syntactic phenomenon. While the results do not falsify the IVH's application to heritage speaker acquisition per se, they do suggest that the IVH alone cannot explain all heritage grammar differences.

Published in

Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2008)
edited by Jean Crawford, Koichi Otaki, and Masahiko Takahashi
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00