Language and Speech Laboratory

Agreement in the English interlanguage of Basque-Spanish bilinguals: A minimalist farewell to pro

Authors
María del Pilar García Mayo, Amparo Lázaro Ibarrola, Juana Muñoz Liceras.

Journal
ITL: International Review of Applied Linguistics      volume:151:83-98.

Year
2006
Abstract
This study investigates the status of subject pronouns in the English interlanguage of Basque-Spanish bilinguals from a minimalist perspective. The oral production of 20 participants was analyzed at two different points in their acquisition of English (Time 1: 396 hours of exposure; Time 2: 564 hours of exposure). The pronoun 'he' ,systematically adjoined to the verb at Time 1 in sentences that already feature a DP subject, is interpreted as a placeholder for the agreement morphemes in the subjects' L1s. At Time 2 the entire pronominal system is acquired and English pronouns become independent. The reanalysis of pronouns, from agreement morphemes to free elements, is argued to have a direct impact on the distribution of inflection in the participants' English interlanguage.