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Subject Pronoun Expression in an L2-only Environment: The Case of Equatorial Guinea

Description

Subject Pronoun Expression (SPE) has been extensively studied in monolingual and bilingual varieties of Spanish using the variationist framework. The goal of these studies has been to examine the linguistic

Subject Pronoun Expression (SPE) has been extensively studied in monolingual and bilingual varieties of Spanish using the variationist framework. The goal of these studies has been to examine the linguistic and extra-linguistic factors that condition the expression and the omission of personal subject pronouns. Nonetheless, to date, there is no study of SPE in the Spanish of Equatorial Guinea, the only African country where it is an official language, and the single country where Spanish is exclusively a second language (L2). This dissertation fills this gap in the literature by accounting for SPE in Equatoguinean Spanish.

The research questions guiding this study concern the rates of Subject Pronoun Expression, its conditioning factors, and universal accounts of L2 acquisition, in particular, the Interface Hypothesis (IH). The study had 30 participants from Malabo, who took part in sociolinguistic interviews. These interviews were transcribed and analyzed using the mixed effects software Rbrul. Along the lines of the literature reviewed, the linguistic factor groups studied were grammatical person and number, reference, reflexivity, verb type, and ambiguity. By the same token, the extra linguistic factors analyzed were age, sex, education, native language (L1), and speaker as a random factor.

The results indicate that the Equatoguinean variety of Spanish has one of the lowest pronoun rates (19.1%), a finding that goes against the predictions of the IH. With regard to the linguistic factor groups that condition Subject Pronoun Expression, Equatoguinean Spanish shows an unorthodox ranking: grammatical person and number, ambiguity, verb class, and reference. Interestingly, the low ranking of reference gives support to the IH, which argues that L2 speakers have problems with constraints like the switch of the reference in subjects because it integrates discourse and pragmatic interfaces. The only significant extra-linguistic factor was education, whereas speakers’ L1 exerted no effect on SPE. Individual speaker was a significant random factor group, indicating that variation is great even in speakers with comparable education.

In sum, this study of a unique speech community provides new information on SPE of L2 Spanish. It also contributes to the fields of language contact, language variation, and second language acquisition.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Actitudes de Alumnos y Profesores chinos ante las Variedades Diatópicas de la Lengua Española y su Variación

Description

Spanish is a pluricentric language spoken within the linguistic continuum with high variation. The understanding of the attitudes towards such variation with regard to its geography (diatopic variation) is key

Spanish is a pluricentric language spoken within the linguistic continuum with high variation. The understanding of the attitudes towards such variation with regard to its geography (diatopic variation) is key to capacitate its students and speakers as a foreign language to successfully communicate in changing and emerging transnational contexts. The research of linguistic attitudes is a topic that has traditionally been approached in Western contexts, with scholars requiring alternative research environments to provide a richer picture of this construct. China, given its steady growth in the number of Spanish as a foreign language students and its current role in the global, transnational arena, becomes a research environment where the study of linguistic attitudes gain even more relevance. Based on this reality, this study seeks to unveil the attitudes towards diatopic variation and towards the five most widely spoken diatopic varieties of Spanish (i.e., Mexico, Argentina, the United States, Spain, and Colombia) in Chinese students of initial level (n = 95) and their professors (n = 16). In doing so, this study collected data through (1) empirically validated questionnaires on attitudes towards diatopic variation, (2) perceptual dialectology tasks and (3) interviews.

The main findings of this research showed the presence of positive attitudes towards diatopic variation by students and teachers. Such attitudes can be explained in light of their previous sociolinguistic knowledge and their previous experience as learners of a second pluricentric language. Regarding the attitudes toward the most spoken varieties, this study showed that the variety associated with Spain was the best known by the observed students and teachers, and received the categorization of prestige variety by students. Teachers did not show affective or status assessments toward any of the diatopic varieties. Further analysis of these results, based on ethnolinguistic vitality , and the levels of familiarity of students/teachers with each variety, suggests that teaching expansive proposals from initial levels can provide a more inclusive view of the diatopic variation of the Spanish language in class.

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Date Created
  • 2019