This study extends previous research that examines word order variation as a result of language contact. The original hypothesis proposed that bilingual speakers of Spanish would be more likely to produce an SV order with unaccusative verbs (whose underlying order is VS) as a result of sustained contact with English. A statistical analysis singled out balanced-dominance bilinguals as producing the highest frequency of SV across all verb types. This suggests convergence, where speakers who spend the most time with both languages activated produce the structure common to both languages more frequently. Significant results showed that verb type, discourse factors, and language dominance condition word order distribution, suggesting that the higher instantiation of SV order for unaccusatives can be attributed to indirect transfer. This hypothesis supports the notion that this word order phenomenon is a consequence of a social and functional interface: external force (language contact) and internal factors (inherent word-order flexibility in Spanish).
Selected Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Jonathan Holmquist, Augusto Lorenzino, and Lotfi Sayahi
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