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Subject pronoun expression in bilinguals of two null subject languages

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Abstract

This paper examines subject pronoun expression in the speech of Spanish-Veneto bilinguals in central Mexico. Non-target subject expression has been found among adult language learners, heritage speakers, and speakers undergoing L1 attrition. Such patterns have been variously attributed to transfer/interference and loss of discourse-pragmatic constraints, among other factors. The situation discussed here is unique in that both languages are null subject languages in an environment of sustained bilingualism. Drawing on a variationist analysis of naturalistic data, the present work reveals a marked increase in overall rates of pronoun expression in Chipilo contact Spanish relative to monolingual Mexican Spanish; however, the patterning of overt pronoun use is similar to that of monolingual varieties of Mexican Spanish. The increase is explained in terms of cognitive economy.

References

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