Subject pronouns in the L2 Spanish of Moroccan Arabic speakers

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The goal of this study is to shed light on the conditions that regulate the interpretation of null and overt third person subject pronouns in ambiguous intra-sentential contexts in bilingual and L2 Spanish. An acceptability judgment task was administered to 26 Moroccan Arabic (MA)/Spanish bilinguals, 26 MA learners of L2 Spanish and 34 native controls. Three variables were manipulated: type of pronoun (null vs. overt), antecedent choice (subject vs. object) and clause order (main-subordinate vs. subordinate-main). The results reveal an effect of pronoun and clause order. Overall, both experimental groups show native-like pronominal preferences but L2 learners differ from native speakers specifically in subordinate-main order as they do not seem to benefit from microvariation between languages in the domain of pronoun interpretation. Keywords: subject pronouns; anaphora resolution; cross-linguistic influence; bilingual acquisition; L2 acquisition


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