AGE AND INPUT EFFECTS IN THE ACQUISITION OF CLITIC CLIMBING CONSTRUCTIONS IN HERITAGE AND SECOND LANGUAGE (L2) SPANISH
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The present study contributes to our understanding of the effects of age and type of linguistic input in the acquisition of Spanish as a second language in adulthood. I examine the Spanish syntax (word order) of three groups of speakers, monolingual Spanish speakers from Mexico and two bilingual English-Spanish speakers born and raised in the United States (N = 53) to measure the effects of an early, oral-based versus a late, written-based exposure to the target language. Results from a sentence completion task show comparable behavior across all groups in the four verb conditions, with a strong tendency to favor the no climbing (enclisis) option, and a proficiency effect among the experimental groups. Results of an acceptability judgment task show comparable behavior across all groups, accepting grammatical proclitic placement and rejecting ungrammatical sentences with climbing. Neither proficiency or group effects were found in this task, although the judgments of the experimental groups were less categorical compared to the native speakers’. The combined results of these two tasks point to an absence of age or input effects in the L2 acquisition of this syntactic phenomenon in Spanish.