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Complex Wh-questions in Non-native Spanish and Non-native German: Does Input Matter?
Juana M. Liceras, Anahí Alba de la Fuente, and Lia Walsh
139-149 (complete paper or proceedings contents)

Abstract

Wh-scope (*What do you think whom Andreas has met?) and/or wh-copying (*Whom do you think whom Andreas has met?) have been attested in L2 grammars where neither the native nor the target grammar exhibits them (Gutierrez 2005; Schulz 2006; Slavkov 2009), which discards both transfer and input as evidence for triggering the production and/or acceptance of these constructions. To account for their presence, it has been argued that these constructions may constitute a default option which is innately available. This paper seeks to provide an account of the non-native (L2) acquisition of these constructions in the grammars of French and English speakers learning Spanish and German as foreign languages. To address the issue of direct input versus universal availability, a comparison of the status of the wh-medial (wh-scope and wh-copying) to the status of long-distance wh-questions (Whom do you think Andreas has met?) was carried out. Wh-medial is possible in German but not in Spanish, while long-distance wh-questions are the preferred or primary option in many natural languages, including Spanish, English, and French. Based on the results of a grammaticality judgments task carried out by four experimental groups made up of advanced and intermediate learners of Spanish and German and two control groups, it is concluded that input seems to play a role at the advanced level of proficiency, since L2 German approaches L1 German in terms of the high acceptance of scope interrogatives, while L2 Spanish patterns with L1 Spanish for all three constructions.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 13th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Luis A. Ortiz-López
Table of contents
Printed edition: $280.00