Volume 19, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1571-0718
  • E-ISSN: 1571-0726
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This study examines the development of variable subject expression in Spanish across multiple proficiency levels of second-language learners. We employ a cross-sectional design and a written contextualized task in order to explore the differences in rates of subject forms as well as the degree to which factors related to referent cohesiveness constrain the acquisition of subject expression. We include a group of native speakers from the same community of practice for comparison. Our results suggest that, although learners appear to acquire native-like rates of subject forms, this process takes several years. Additionally, the rates of selection of forms were similar for the native speakers and the most advanced non-native speakers, but there remained important differences between these groups across the categories of the referent cohesiveness variable. Finally, we show that the various factors used to operationalize referent cohesiveness do not influence subject expression uniformly.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): language variation; second language acquisition; subject expression
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