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Effects of bilingualism on first language argument structures: Evidence from a sentence recall task

Dr. Eva Fernandez

From Friday, December 14, 2012 -  11:00am
To Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 12:00am

City University of New York, Queens College and The Graduate Center

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I will describe recent work, performed in collaboration with Ricardo de Souza (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, in Brazil).  Our study focuses on the induced movement alternation, in sentences like The elegant lady walked her husband to a seat, a causative construction licensed by certain manner of motion verbs in English-but not in Brazilian Portuguese.  In a sentence recall task, high-proficiency bilinguals employed L2 argument structure frames when asked to recall sentences in their L1, with recall accuracy and fluency patterns that paralleled the behavior of monolingual speakers of their L2.  We take this to be evidence that language-specific argument structures can be shared cross-linguistically, which leads us to speculate about how this phenomenon might be related to language change.

 

** The event is sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Rutgers University, Center for Cognitive Science (RuCCS), and the Graduate Student Association.**

Dr. Eva Fernandez