Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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A continuing concern in second language acquisition (SLA) research is whether problems with inflectional morphology are representational or related somehow to performance. In this study, we examine 25 non-advanced learners of L2 Spanish and compare them with 18 native Spanish speakers on three grammatical structures: subject-verb inversion, adverb placement and person-number inflections on verbs. We use self-paced reading as a measure of underlying sensitivity to grammatical violations. Our results clearly show that the L2 learners pattern like the native speakers on the two syntactic structures; both groups demonstrate sensitivity to grammatical violations while reading sentences for meaning. For person-number on verbs, L2 learners did not show sensitivity to grammatical violations whereas the native speakers did. We argue that these results suggest a representational problem for morphology in our L2 population.


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