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Se nacieron los pollitos as evidence of knowledge of the structural properties of unaccusative verbs in L2 Spanish acquisition
Debate about the acquisition of unaccusative verbs has centered on whether the structural properties of unaccusative verbs are known or if all intransitive verbs are treated as unergatives initially in different languages (Montrul 2005; Oshita 2001; Sorace 2000; Zobl 1989; among others). Within the Reasearch Project “Estructuras tempranas y tardías en Español como Lengua Materna” (J014) we have studied the acquisition of passive and unaccusative structures both in Spanish as an L1 and in English as an L2. The present study intends to show that L2 Spanish learners know the grammatical properties of unaccusative verbs and treat them as such. To this purpose in mind, an experiment of delayed repetition of a series of 11 pictures contained in a short story was carried out. The searcher told it to 5 adult students at Leiden University who have been learning Spanish for an average of 4 1/2 years (4 to 10 years). The results show that in all cases the subjects followed a constant pattern of response: they produced the expected verbs correctly and the difficulties evinced are of two types: lack of knowledge of the lexical item (verb) they had to use to describe the picture and the causativisation of some unaccusative verbs which are not compatible with this construction. These data seem to indicate that overall these learners know the structural properties of unaccusative verbs and the use of the clitic se with particular verbs – aparecer and nacer- is the syntactic reflex that shows the learners’ attempt to morphologically mark unaccusativity. Thus, to correct these errors, learners need more time to sharpen their knowledge of the specific idiosyncratic properties of certain verbs of different subclasses within the unaccusative class.
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Universidad Nacional del Comahue. Facultad deLenguas
Monteserin, A., & Araya, M. T. (2012). Se nacieron los pollitos as evidence of knowledge of the structural properties of unaccusative verbs in L2 Spanish acquisition. En A. Castro (Ed.), Actas en CD del 2°Congreso Nacional “El Conocimiento como Espacio de Encuentro” y VI Jornadas Un espacio de Encuentro: El Estado de Conocimiento en la ESI. General Roca: Universidad Nacional del Comahue. Facultad de Lenguas.
Araya, María Teresa
Is Part Of
Castro, Analía et al., “Actas en CD del II Congreso Nacional El Conocimiento como Espacio de Encuentro : recopilación de papers”.