Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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This cross-sectional study examines the role of L1-L2 differences and structural distance in the processing of gender and number agreement by English-speaking learners of Spanish at three different levels of proficiency. Preliminary results show that differences between the L1 and L2 impact L2 development, as sensitivity to gender agreement violations, as opposed to number agreement violations, emerges only in learners at advanced levels of proficiency. Results also show that the establishment of agreement dependencies is impacted by the structural distance between the agreeing elements for native speakers and for learners at intermediate and advanced levels of proficiency but not for low proficiency. The overall pattern of results suggests that the linguistic factors examined here impact development but do not constrain ultimate attainment; for advanced learners, results suggest that second language processing is qualitatively similar to native processing.


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