Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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This paper proposes a model of morphological variation and development grounded in feature-geometric theory. It tests two hypotheses that follow from this model on a corpus of data from speakers of Spanish as a second language (L2). First, variation is systematic; default, underspecified feature values are adopted when errors occur. This hypothesis is supported for person, number, and finiteness, as 3rd, singular, and nonfinite defaults surface in place of 1st, plural, and finite verbs. Second, developmental trends are observed as nodes are added to the geometry; the unmarked/less specified feature value is successfully produced prior to the marked/more specified one. This hypothesis is partially supported, as accuracy in 3rd person emerges prior to 1st. However, no developmental pattern is found for number. Errors in finiteness are limited to lower-proficiency speakers, whereas intermediate speakers favor 3rd person, finite defaults. Together, these results suggest systematic variation and gradual development in the morphology.


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