Volume 12, Issue 6
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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This paper investigates the strategies involved in gender assignment in Spanish-Basque mixed Determiner Phrases (DPs) with a gendered Spanish determiner ( /) and a Basque ungendered noun. Previous studies on Spanish-Basque mixed DPs have revealed conflicting results regarding the determining factor affecting gender assignment, namely, phonological ending vs. analogical gender. We designed a forced-switch elicitation task in order to elicit mixed DPs with a Spanish determiner and a Basque noun (controlled for both phonological vs. analogical cues). Thirty highly proficient Spanish-Basque bilinguals with different profiles and socio­linguistic backgrounds participated in the study. Three cues were significant in the selection of the Spanish M/F determiner: the analogical gender and two phonological cues, the word ending and the root ending of the Basque noun. Further statistical analyses revealed participants’ L1 as a strong factor in the variability attested: bilinguals with Spanish as (one of) their L1(s) rely predominantly on the analogical criterion, whereas speakers with only Basque as L1 follow mainly the phonological criterion. Overall, this study provides an explanation for the previous conflicting results and highlights the fact that bilinguals may use different strategies depending on their bilingual profile and the morpho-phonological properties of the languages in contact.


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Keyword(s): Basque; code-switching; gender assignment; production; Spanish
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