image of School, age, and exposure effects in the child heritage language acquisition of the Spanish volitional
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The present study investigated the production and receptive knowledge of the Spanish subjunctive mood in volitional clauses by 57 English-dominant heritage speakers in fifth, seventh, and eighth grades (ages 10–14), some of whom were enrolled in a dual-language immersion program. Children’s self-reported frequency of use of Spanish affected command of this structure, and participants showed more consistent selection of the subjunctive than production of this form. There were no differences in production or selection between children in the dual-language immersion and monolingual English schools, but older children produced and selected the subjunctive more than younger participants. The lexical frequency of individual subordinate verbs did not affect subjunctive use. The role for frequency of use and asymmetrical performance between tasks support Putnam and Sánchez’s (2013) activation approach to heritage language acquisition. However, the absence of an effect for bilingual schooling or lexical frequency and the increased use of subjunctive mood with age do not strictly align with theories of a reassembly of features in heritage language acquisition, and argue for a protracted development of subjunctive mood in heritage Spanish.


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