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Bookmark and Share Paper 3093

Interpretation of Anaphoric Subject Pronouns in Heritage Russian
Tanya Ivanova-Sullivan
145-154 (complete paper or proceedings contents)

Abstract

Problems with establishing referential dependencies with anaphoric pronouns have been reported in studies with various types of bilingual populations. The proponents of Interface Hypothesis (Sorace and Filiaci 2006) have argued that the syntax-discourse interface poses acquisition challenges stemming from the taxing task of integrating structures from syntax and discourse. The present study seeks to determine whether the less studied bilingual population of heritage speakers also exhibits divergent behavior with referential dependencies. The paper reports on the results from a forced choice aural preference task that tested antecedent preferences and reaction times with pronominal resolution in heritage Russian. The findings with the antecedent choice were consistent with previous L2 studies, namely, target behavior of the experimental group with null subject pronouns but a certain degree of variability with overt pronouns. The reaction times, however, showed that the experimental group was faster linking null pronouns to object antecedents than the control group. These results are explained by assuming an initial structurally-based assignment of subject antecedent in the heritage group without subsequent re-evaluation of this assignment based on discourse-pragmatic cues. This type of heritage pronoun interpretation is analyzed as an example of "good enough processing" (in the spirit of Ferreira et al., 2002).

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 2012 Second Language Research Forum: Building Bridges between Disciplines
edited by Ryan T. Miller, Katherine I. Martin, Chelsea M. Eddington, Ashlie Henery, Nausica Marcos Miguel, Alison M. Tseng, Alba Tuninetti, and Daniel Walter
Table of contents
Printed edition: $290.00