A variety of studies have documented the acquisition of the Overt Pronoun Constraint (OPC) (Montalbetti, 1984) in interlanguage grammars (Kanno 1997, Pérez-Leroux & Glass 1999, Rothman & Iverson, 2007) but none have looked at the OPC strictly from an L1 experimental perspective. This paper takes an experimental approach to the OPC, focusing on the mental representation of the OPC in Spanish monolinguals, going beyond L2 speakers and probing into the interpretations that monolinguals assign to pronouns (null and overt) with quantified and referential antecedents. Specifically, the aim is to investigate whether monolinguals treat various antecedents differently within the context of the OPC. 20 Spanish monolingual speakers participated in the experiment. Participants took a background questionnaire, a sentence selection task, and a picture-matching task. The tasks tested comprehension and interpretation of the implicit knowledge of the OPC with referential and quantified antecedents within bound and unbound contexts. Results show that Spanish monolinguals do not treat WH-word and quantified antecedents in the same manner, and there appears to be a preference for the type of antecedents used.
Selected Proceedings of the 15th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Chad Howe, Sarah E. Blackwell, and Margaret Lubbers Quesada
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