(‘Interface Hypothesis’, Sorace and Filiaci ..
This study explores syntactic, pragmatic, and lexical influences on adherence to SV and VS orders in native and fluent L2 speakers of Spanish. A judgment task examined 20 native monolingual and 20 longstanding L2 bilingual Spanish speakers' acceptance of SV and VS structures. Seventy-six distinct verbs were tested under a combination of syntactic and pragmatic constraints. Our findings challenge the hypothesis that internal interfaces are acquired more easily than external interfaces (Sorace, , ; Sorace and Filiaci, ; White, ). Additional findings are that (a) bilinguals' judgments are less firm overall than monolinguals' (i.e., monolinguals are more likely to give extreme “yes” or “no” judgments) and (b) individual verbs do not necessarily behave as predicted under standard definitions of unaccusatives and unergatives. Correlations of the patterns found in the data with verb frequencies suggest that usage-based accounts of grammatical knowledge could help provide insight into speakers' knowledge of these constructs.
In light of the Interface Hypothesis (Tsimpli & Sorace 2006), ..
The data presented here do not lend support to a split intransitivity dichotomy. Rather, they support a continuum. This continuum, however, does not seem to fit Sorace's criteria defined primarily by aspectual notions (telicity/atelicity), and secondarily by the degree of agentivity of the verb. The functional bilinguals' performance differed from the performance of monolinguals in their lack of differentiation of verb types. And contrary to what is predicted according to the interface hypothesis, bilinguals differentiated between focus and non-focus situations.
This article considers the acquisition of three English syntax-discourse interface constructions: Topicalization, Focus Fronting and Left Dislocation. We use data from Basque-Spanish bilinguals learning English as a third language (L3) as a test case for the Interface Hypothesis (IH, Sorace, 2011). The IH has made specific predictions about second language (L2) acquisition and such predictions can be extrapolated to L3 on the basis of interface delay explanations. Thirty contexts and embedded test sentences with and without pronouns were used; participants had to rate the acceptability of each audio stimulus sentence in the context on a 7-point scale. We tested Basque/Spanish bilinguals dominant in Basque (n= 23), Basque/Spanish bilinguals dominant in Spanish (n= 24), Spanish L2 English learners (n= 39) as well as native English speakers (n=24). Findings provide evidence against current L3 acquisition models and potential arguments for both cumulative enhancement as well as cumulative inhibition as possible processes in L3 acquisition.