This article tests the predictions of the Interface Hypothesis (Sorace & Filiaci, 2006, Sorace, 2011, 2012 inter alia) on Spanish psych-verbs (e.g. gustar 'to like'). Specifically the study sets out to determine whether external-interface properties of psych-verbs (i.e. those in which linguistic and cognitive modules interact with each other, e.g. syntax-pragmatics) pose more problems for L2 learners than internal-interface properties of those predicates (i.e. properties in which only linguistic modules are involved, e.g. syntax-semantics). The study consists of two experiments: a scalar grammaticality judgment task and a scalar pragmatic felicitousness task; and tested four different groups of L2ers (near-native, advanced, intermediate and low). The results suggest that external interfaces are problematic for L2ers; however, this does not necessarily predict that syntax will precede the understanding of pragmatics or the integration of syntax-pragmatics phenomena (contra the IH). Instead, pragmatics can come for free in L2 acquisition while the learner still struggles with the target syntactic templates and the integration of both pragmatic and syntactic information.
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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