Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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The strategies used to signal information focus — the non-presupposed part of a sentence — in Spanish are under debate. The literature suggests that focus must appear rightmost; however, empirical evidence shows that speakers also realize focus in-situ. Moreover, there is limited research investigating the effects of language variety or knowledge of another language on focus marking. We address these questions via a paced elicited production task, testing speakers who learned Spanish naturalistically in infancy, including two groups of monolinguals and two groups of Spanish/English bilinguals: (a) Spanish natives who learned English after childhood, and (b) early bilinguals exposed to English in early childhood (heritage speakers). Confirming previous empirical studies, results show that all participant groups choose a similar range of focus-marking strategies, vastly preferring in-situ marking with rightmost marking used rarely. Results challenge both theoretical accounts of Spanish focus realization and expectations of special vulnerability at the syntax-discourse interface for bilinguals.


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Keyword(s): heritage speakers; information focus; Spanish; syntax-discourse interface
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