Verbal agreement in the L2 Spanish of speakers of Nahuatl

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This paper examines the production of subject/verb agreement in the L2 Spanish of Nahuatl L1 speakers in light of the debate on whether problems with morphology are evidence for a deficit at the functional level in second language acquisition. In particular, it focuses on whether age of acquisition is the determining factor in the production of agreement, or whether quantity and quality of input are. Results show that there was no difference in the rate or type of error according to age of acquisition, but there was an important difference in rate between those participants who had little or no contact with standard Spanish and those that had a great deal due to the fact that they had to leave the village in order to find work. These results are taken as evidence against a deficit in adult second language acquisition. Keywords: Nahuatl; Spanish; second language acquisition; agreement; production of morphology


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