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Marcela Depiante: "Preposition Stranding in Heritage Speakers of Spanish: Implications for the Interface Hypothesis"

January 17, 2014 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm  |  Humanities 1, Room 202


In this talk, we discuss the properties of Heritage Languages by examining Preposition Stranding in the Spanish of Heritage
speakers versus monolingual speakers of Spanish. We discuss the implications of this work for the Interface Hypothesis (Sorace 2000, Tsimpli and Sorace 2006) as applied to Heritage speakers (Montrul 2009, Montrul & Polinsky 2011) according to which changes in Heritage speaker syntax are restricted to areas of the grammar where the syntax interfaces with interpretable domains such as discourse/pragmatics.

Since the possibility of preposition stranding constructions is one of purely syntactic features, this hypothesis predicts that Heritage speakers of Spanish should not show variation from monolingual Spanish speakers with respect to these constructions. However, the data that will be presented will show that they do and they do so in different syntactic contexts and with different types of prepositions. The data argues against extending the Interface Hypothesis to Heritage Speakers.

In addition, we do not interpret the data found in this study of Spanish Heritage speakers as instances of incomplete acquisition. Instead, the variation we observe between Heritage speakers and monolingual Spanish speakers with respect to the possibility of preposition stranding can be seen as variation between speakers of different varieties of Spanish and used as a further source of insight into the human language faculty.

Speaker: Marcela Depiante is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire


January 17, 2014
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm