The alternation between overt and null subject personal pronouns (SPPs) has been widely researched in various populations of Spanish-speakers, including adult monolinguals, bilinguals, and second language learners of Spanish. Very few studies have investigated this variable syntactic phenomenon in monolingual first language (L1) acquisition of Spanish. In this study, speech samples from 13 monolingual Mexican children under age eight were analyzed to examine SPP use. Compared to adults and older (bilingual) children, the Mexican monolingual children's rates of overt SPP use in three types of speech contexts were very low. This was the case for almost all grammatical persons, but was particularly noteworthy for third person singular contexts, in which the Mexican children produced only 3.1% overt él/ella (he/she). These results are interpreted as an indication that children in this age range avoid overt SPPs, and alternate between overt lexical NPs and null pronouns instead.
Selected Proceedings of the 14th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Kimberly Geeslin and Manuel Díaz-Campos
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