Exploring the Relationship Between Transfer and Input in the Acquisition of the Spanish Passives
Joyce Bruhn de Garavito and Elena Valenzuela
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This paper examines the L2 acquisition of Spanish verbal and adjectival passives by English L1 speakers. Although both passives exist in English, in Spanish the difference is expressed in each case by a different copula: ser for the verbal passives (La comida es servida todos los días a las seis 'dinner is served at 6 every day'), and estar for the adjectival passives (La comida ya está servida 'dinner is already served'). The study looks at several properties of the passives: (a) agentivity, (b) aspect, (c) participles prefixed by in-, and (d) generic interpretation of the subject. Results show that the 9 advanced learners in the study had acquired the correct past tense for the passives (aspect) and had learned that the presence of the prefix signals an adjectival passive. They had not acquired genericity or agentivity. The authors conclude that transfer from the implicit knowledge of the passive in English was not sufficient to lead to acquisition in Spanish.
Proceedings of the 7th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2004)
edited by Laurent Dekydtspotter, Rex A. Sprouse, and Audrey Liljestrand
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