The gradual acquisition of clitic “se” in Spanish L2

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Abstract

In this study, we analyse the nature of clitic “se” and low applicatives in Spanish L2 through the study of the non-native acquisition of this clitic by L1 English adult learners. In particular, we are going to discuss the question of how English adults acquire this clitic in the different syntactic configurations where it appears (anticausative inchoative verbs, inherent reflexive verbs, transitive verbs implying an inalienable possession relation, consumption verbs and non-anticausative inchoative verbs). Our main research hypothesis is that the acquisition of clitic “se” with some types of applicatives takes place in the later stages of the learning process, since it requires exposure to certain linguistic evidence to acquire a certain type of argument structure proper to applicatives. This study is going to be based on how our subjects perform using Grammaticality Judgment Tests (GJTs).

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