• Early null and overt subjects in the Spanish of simultaneous English-Spanish bilinguals and Crosslinguistic Influence

      Villa-García, Julio; Suárez-Palma, Imanol; Department of Spanish & Portuguese, University of Arizona; University of Manchester; University of Arizona (JOHN BENJAMINS PUBLISHING CO, 2016)
      This study assesses the scope of the Crosslinguistic Influence (CLI) hypothesis’ predictions with regard to early bilingual acquisition. To this end, we analyze longitudinal corpus data from four bilinguals attesting the acquisition of subjecthood (null versus overt; preverbal versus postverbal) and the pragmatic adequacy of early null and overt subjects in a null-subject language (i.e., Spanish) in combination with a language differing in its pro-drop parameter setting (i.e., English). Our results indicate that CLI barely affects the development of subjects in the null-subject language at the initial stages, namely at the outset of null and overt subjects, and in turn support the Separate Development Hypothesis. Our bilingual cohort patterns with their Spanish-acquiring monolingual peer in that both groups display comparable proportions of null subjects as well as acquisitional trajectories of null and overt subjects at the early stages of acquisition. Much like monolinguals, bilinguals begin to produce preverbal and postverbal subjects concurrently. The bilingual children and the monolingual child of this study actually produce extremely high rates of pragmatically appropriate covert and overt subjects, which are for the most part target-like from the start, thus pointing to the absence of CLI effects. In light of monolingual and bilingual data, the paper also revisits the hotly debated issue of the ‘no overt subject’ stage of Grinstead (1998, et seq.), its existence in child Spanish being questionable.
    • Root-letter priming in Maltese visual word recognition

      Univ Arizona, Dept Linguist (JOHN BENJAMINS PUBLISHING CO, 2018)
      We report on a visual masked priming experiment designed to explore the role of morphology in Maltese visual word recognition. In a lexical decision task, subjects were faster to judge Maltese words of Semitic origin that were primed by triconsonantal letter-strings corresponding to their root-morphemes. In contrast, they were no faster to judge Maltese words of non-Semitic origin that were primed by an equivalent, but non-morphemic, set of three consonant letters, suggesting that morphological overlap, rather than simple form overlap, drives this facilitatory effect. Maltese is unique among the Semitic languages for its orthography: Maltese alone uses the Latin alphabet and requires that all vowels are written, making such triconsonantal strings illegal non-words to which Maltese readers are never exposed, as opposed to other Semitic languages such as Hebrew in which triconsonantal strings often correspond to real words. Under a decomposition-based account of morphological processing, we interpret these results as suggesting that across reading experience Maltese readers have abstracted out and stored root-morphemes for Semitic-origin words lexically, such that these morphemic representations can be activated by exposure to root-letters in isolation and thus prime morphological derivatives.
    • Transdisciplinarity across two-tiers The case of applied linguistics and literary studies in U.S. foreign language departments

      Warner, Chantelle; Univ Arizona (JOHN BENJAMINS PUBLISHING CO, 2018)
      In the ten years since the Modern Language Association published their report, "Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World" (2007) dissatisfaction with the "two-tiered configuration" of US foreign language departments has become increasingly vocal. While the target of the criticism is often the curriculum, it has often been noted that programmatic bifurcations mirror institutional hierarchies, e.g. status differences between specialists in literary and cultural studies and experts in applied linguistics and language pedagogy (e.g. Maxim et al., 2013; Allen & Maxim, 2012). This chapter looks at the two-tiered structure of collegiate modern language departments from the perspectives of the transdisciplinary shape-shifters who maneuver within them - scholars working between applied linguistics and literary studies. These individuals must negotiate the methodologies and the institutional positions available to them - in many instances, the latter is what has prompted them to work between fields in the first place. The particular context of US foreign language and literature departments serves as a case study of the lived experiences of doing transdisciplinary work in contexts that are characterized by disciplinary hierarchies and the chapter ends with a call for applied linguistics to consider not only the epistemic, but also the institutional and affective labor needed to sustain transdisciplinary work.