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Estar extension in Arizona: a language contact study

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Past research has isolated an extension of the copular verb estar into the domain previously sanctioned for its counterpart, ser. This extension has been found in areas of contact between American English and Spanish speaking Mexican immigrants. A similar situation

Past research has isolated an extension of the copular verb estar into the domain previously sanctioned for its counterpart, ser. This extension has been found in areas of contact between American English and Spanish speaking Mexican immigrants. A similar situation of contact is in occurrence in Arizona, and this study endeavored to evaluate if this same extension was present, and to what degree. This study also explores the framework of linguistic hegemony in order to relate language attitudes in Arizona to language change in Arizona. The findings revealed minimal extension. This may be due to language maintenance in response to hegemony.

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2012

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The interpretation of Spanish grammatical aspect with habitual and episodic readings and the influence of adverbials

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Adult second-language learners of Spanish struggle with the acquisition of preterite and imperfect selection due to the overtly morphological representation of grammatical aspect. Prior studies have documented the effect of a default encoding without influence of the lexical aspect in

Adult second-language learners of Spanish struggle with the acquisition of preterite and imperfect selection due to the overtly morphological representation of grammatical aspect. Prior studies have documented the effect of a default encoding without influence of the lexical aspect in the emergence of aspectual morphology, and have proposed the Default Past Tense Hypothesis (DPTH).

This study investigates the emergence of aspectual morphology by testing the DPTH and the effect of adverbials at interpreting grammatical aspect in this process of acquisition. Twenty-eight English-speaking learners of Spanish (beginning, intermediate and advanced) and twenty native-Spanish speakers are tested with two written comprehension tasks that assess the interpretation of habitual/imperfect and episodic/preterite readings of eventive verbs. The truth-value judgment task incorporates forty short stories with two summary sentences, from which participants must choose one as true. The grammaticality judgment task presents sixty-four sentences with temporal adverbials of position and duration, thirty-two are grammatical and thirty-two are ungrammatical. Participants must accept or reject them using a 5-point likert scale.

The findings indicate that the DPTH is partially supported by the statistical data showing a default marker, imperfect for beginning learners, and preterite for intermediate learners. This provides support to the argument of unsteady aspectual checking of [-bounded] in the spec of AspP and not necessarily by only checking [+past] in the TP for intermediate learners. The influence of the lexical aspect value of the verb is partially evident with advanced learners. Temporal adverbials play an important role at interpreting grammatical aspect with intermediate and advanced learners. Results show that beginning learners are not influenced by the presence of adverbials due to their inexperience with the Spanish aspectual morphology.

The findings also allow the confirmation of prior results about factors that influence the interpretation of preterite and imperfect. First, the instruction of aspectual morphology co-indexed with specific temporal adverbials, and second, that learners rely on lexical cues at the sentential level, while native speakers rely on discursive ones.

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2016

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The Use of Definite Articles in Romance Languages: Diffusion or Independent Development

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Over the centuries, definite articles in Romance languages have expanded their use to include generic, collective, and abstract nouns, essentially becoming noun markers. This usage is not confined to just a few languages, either, but is found in most, if

Over the centuries, definite articles in Romance languages have expanded their use to include generic, collective, and abstract nouns, essentially becoming noun markers. This usage is not confined to just a few languages, either, but is found in most, if not all, Romance languages, major and minor. This thesis examines the question of how this came to be, whether through diffusion from one language to all others, or through independent parallel development. I first trace the history of definite articles in three major Romance languages, French, Spanish, and Italian, starting with the emergence of the definite article in Late Latin as it derived from Classic Latin demonstratives. It includes an analysis of the use of definite articles in six works of literature, one in each language from the late thirteenth century, and one in each language from around the year 1500. The results show definite articles were used more frequently than expected in the earlier Spanish work, perhaps hinting at diffusion from Spain. Nevertheless, placing these results in historical context, I argue that this use arose through independent parallel development through the process that gave birth to definite articles in the first place - grammaticalization.

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2019

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Verbs of Perception and Evidentiality in Standard Arabic

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This dissertation provides an account of evidentiality of a number of selected verbs of perception in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). The verbs are divided into three categories: activity, experiential, and source-based, following Viberg (1983). The data shows that the activity

This dissertation provides an account of evidentiality of a number of selected verbs of perception in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). The verbs are divided into three categories: activity, experiential, and source-based, following Viberg (1983). The data shows that the activity P.Vs in MSA are rarely used evidentially whereas the experiential and the source-based ones are commonly used to indicate evidential meaning. It also shows that while the source-based verb is mostly used with an inferred evidential meaning, the evidentiality encoded by the experiential perception verbs is determined by the complementation pattern and the person of the subject (first or third person subject). With the non-finite complement, these verbs indicate a direct evidentiality when having a first person subject, and a reported evidentiality when having a third person subject. With the finite CP complement, they indicate an indirect evidentiality. This corpus-based study also examines the grammaticalization of these verbs when used evidentially. I argue that only the verb ra’aa of the selected experiential verbs is fully grammaticalized, but only when it is in the past tense and followed by a verbal non-finite complement. In this usage, it becomes a light verb. The source-based verb badaa/yabduu when indicating an evidentiality, it is grammaticalized into copulative verb when followed by an adjectival predicate, and modal verb when followed by a finite complement.

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2019