This study contributes to current trends of heritage speaker development research by examining the acquisition of Spanish gustar-like verbs (to like, to please), also known in the literature as class III psychological predicates (Belletti & Rizzi 1988). In addition to their notorious structural opacity, a large body of acquisitional literature has documented them as being problematic not only for typical Spanish L2 learners but for Spanish heritage speakers as well. Considering this, it is proposed that in heritage speaker Spanish class III psych-predicates are being reanalyzed as class II psych-predicates, and that the obligatory dative clitic is actually serving as preverbal agreement morphology that has nominal phi-features (what postverbal agreement morphology typically has in Spanish) (e.g., Montrul 1995). To test this prediction, data obtained via grammaticality judgments from advanced and intermediate heritage speakers (as well as from a monolingual control group and a bilingual control group) are discussed. The results presented, which are consistent with this prediction, further contribute to the current debate in formal heritage speaker acquisition regarding the sources of variability.
Proceedings of the 12th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2013)
edited by Jennifer Cabrelli Amaro, Tiffany Judy, and Diego Pascual y Cabo
Table of contents