General programme, activity sheet

Saturday 20 September, 2014 09:00 to 09:30 Oral presentation
Pronominal variation in Uwa Spanish. A possible case of cross-linguistic influence
Authors: Leonardo Moreno


My current research studied a language contact situation in which I first investigated whether there was cross-linguistic influence between the two languages of the bilingual or the two languages systems co-exist independently. Sanchéz (2003) claims that the input in two languages generates syntactic changes in the bilingual grammar. Conversely, Costa and Santesteban (2004) argue that highly proficient bilinguals perform in either language without the transfer of syntactic properties. The first research question I answer is whether the Spanish of the Uwa, highly proficient bilinguals, has idiosyncratic morph syntactic traces resulting from the contact between Uwa, an indigenous language, and Spanish. In the second research question I consider whether those traces evidence patterns of variation, and, how they can be accounted for. The fact that Spanish and Uwa have dissimilar article systems provides a rich testing ground for cross-linguistic influence. The Spanish article system displays gender, number, definiteness and indefiniteness while the Uwa article system does not display either (El/Un ratón come maíz [The/A mouse eats corn]) vs. (Ø Bonita teb yácaro [corn mouse eat]). The lack of an article system that conveys these semantic meanings in Uwa can bring about syntactic divergence in the Spanish of the Uwa people. To provide an account, I carried out two onsite visits to collect data in Cubara and Tunja, Colombia. I have obtained spontaneous speech samples from a group of 9 bilingual Spanish-Uwa speakers (the experimental group) and a group of 9 monolingual Spanish speakers (the control group). I have transcribed the interviews using the Codes for the Human Analysis of Transcripts (CHAT) system and the Computerized Language Analysis (CLAN) to extract and code the data. I analyzed the results of article production and omission which show evidence for an idiosyncratic Spanish article system.
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Paper session F
Place: Main Room

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