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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24332

Title: L2 Learners’ Difficulties in the Interpretation of the Spanish Subjunctive: L1 Influence and Misanalysis of the Input
Authors: Sanchez-Naranjo, Jeannette
Advisor: Perez-Leroux, Ana Teresa
Department: Spanish
Keywords: L2 Acquisition
Spanish Subjunctive
Issue Date: 13-Apr-2010
Abstract: This study examines L2 learners’ difficulties in the acquisition of the Spanish subjunctive. In particular, it investigates the interpretations English-speaking L2 learners of Spanish assign to the subjunctive in temporal, concessive, and conditional clauses, where mood choice involves the interaction of morpho-syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic knowledge. In contrast to previous research that has given little attention to the difficulties L2 learners experience, this study hypothesizes they might be attributed to “input traps” resulting from L1 transfer of syntactic and semantic properties of the subjunctive adjuncts and misanalysis of the input due to the lack of integration of different types of information. This study tests this claim by comparing the grammars of English-speaking L2 learners of Spanish with those of native Spanish speakers. If L2 learners share similar patterns with L1 speakers in contexts where both languages behave similarly, and exhibit different patterns from L1 speakers in contexts where both languages behave differently, difficulties should be attributed to L1 influence on the L2. On the other hand, if L2 learners exhibit different patterns from L1 speakers in contexts where semantic or pragmatic features determine the use of the subjunctive, difficulties should be attributed to failures in form-meaning mappings. Data collection involved a Preference Task with three possible options: a sentence with the indicative, with the subjunctive, or no preference. Subjects were asked to select which of the three choices they preferred according to the context presented in the story. Twenty advanced English-speaking L2 learners of Spanish and twenty native speakers from different Spanish-speaking countries, who served as the control group, took part in this study. Results indicate that subjunctive adjuncts present difficulties in L2 acquisition even for advanced L2 learners. Although they exhibit sensitivity to certain subjunctive features and contextual meanings, data reveal that convergence and non-convergence were primarily determined by L1 influence on L2. Crucially, those features absent from the L1 give rise to greater efforts and difficulties in L2 form-meaning mappings of mood selection.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24332
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Spanish & Portuguese - Doctoral theses

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