The Functional Head Constraint (FHC) (Belazi et al, 1994) is a syntactic constraint proposed to govern code-switching (CS) in bilinguals, regardless of switch directionality. The FHC predicts that switches between lexical subjects and predicates are grammatical while auxiliary-VP switches are ungrammatical. To test the FHC, 28 L2 Spanish learners and 19 heritage speakers completed a Naturalness Judgment Task, rating audio examples of both switch types. As in Potowski et al (2011), results indicate that L2 learners and heritage bilinguals both distinguish between grammatical and ungrammatical CS. However, because groups show unpredicted language directionality and auxiliary preferences which the FHC cannot explain, it is proposed that a "constraint free" approach to CS (MacSwan, 2000) may better account for the results.
Selected Proceedings of the 16th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Jennifer Cabrelli Amaro, Gillian Lord, Ana de Prada Pérez, and Jessi Elana Aaron
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