Linguistic Variation and Grammatical Complexity in Child Heritage Speakers

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Pablo Requena


This exploratory study addresses variation along the animacy scale in the bilingual first language acquisition of Spanish Differential Object Marking (DOM). Through the analysis of elicited narratives by child heritage speakers (HSs) and monolingual children, we report evidence that both groups distinguish
between human and nonhuman animate direct objects (DOs) based on their DOM use. The results, albeit tentative given the data examined, suggest that variable contexts can offer new insight into the complex nature of HS grammars in order to test hypotheses of structural simplification.

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