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Variation of the Simple Present and Present Progressive Forms: A Comparison of Native and Non-native Speakers
Kimberly L. Geeslin and Stephen Fafulas
179-196 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The current study adds to the literature on the second language acquisition of variation by addressing a generally unexplored topic in the field: NNS use of the Spanish present progressive (Bardovi-Harlig, 2000; Fafulas, 2010). In Spanish, two verb forms, the simple present and present progressive, can both encode the meaning 'action in progress', while in English one form (be +V-ing) predominates. In addition, sociolinguistic research on the simple present and present progressive forms (Fafulas and Killam, 2010; Torres Cacoullos, 2000) has identified several linguistic variables that constrain NS selection of these forms, including: lexical aspect, co-occurring adverbs, clause type, polarity, animacy, and temporal aspect of the sentence. The analysis in the current study is based on video-narrations produced by 13 English-speaking NNSs of Spanish and 13 NSs in the same speech community. The envelope of variation was defined as present time reference and the dependent variable of the analysis was the form produced in those contexts. Each token was coded for the following independent linguistic variables: lexical aspect of the verb, semantics of co-occurring adverbs, animacy, several characteristics of verbal objects, person/number of the verb, and clause type. Results show that with few exceptions, NNS use is governed by the same linguistic factors as NSs, but there exist significant differences between the two groups in the frequencies of use of these forms.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 14th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Kimberly Geeslin and Manuel Díaz-Campos
Table of contents
Printed edition: $295.00