Indiana University

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Events for the week :
April 28, 2013 - May 04, 2013
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May 01
  • First and second-language patterns of variation: Acquisition and use of simple present and present progressive forms in Spanish and English

    Time: 12:30pm - 01:30pm 

    Place: IMU Sassafras Room


    Stephen Fafulas (Dissertation defense)

    This investigation addresses the acquisition of the present progressive, and the variation of this form with the simple present, by English-speaking learners of Spanish in the US. Empirical research on the variation of these forms by native speakers (NS) of English and Spanish, and, in particular the acquisition of the present progressive by nonnative speakers (NNS) of Spanish is scarce. While seeking to fill this void in the literature, a second major contribution of this project is the extension of the analysis to the progressive constructions: seguir, venir, ir, and andar + V-ndo, which have received considerably less attention than the more frequent estar + V-ndo form, especially in the second-language (L2) variationist literature.

    Relatively little is known about how English-speaking learners of Spanish deal with the differences between the uses of the simple present and present progressive forms in these two languages. At what level of proficiency do they begin to employ both forms, in similar contexts as NS of Spanish? Do they acquire the full range of progressive constructions, and sensitivity to the same linguistic predictors of use, found in NS grammars? The current study will empirically answer these questions through the use of film narrations, written contextualized questionnaires, and surveys of language-learning experiences, from 115 participants.

    Results indicate that as learners of Spanish gain proficiency they move toward a second-language grammar which permits variation between the simple present and present progressive forms as is found in native speaker grammars. However, while learners at the highest levels acquire the linguistic constraints guiding native speaker selection of the simple present and present progressive estar + V-ndo form, they do not acquire the full-range of lexical forms used to express progressive aspect found in monolingual Spanish. These findings have implications for current contact-induced and interlanguage theories on Spanish-English grammatical development.


    In category: Second language acquisition


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