Heritage and L2 processing of person and number features: Evidence from Spanish subject-verb agreement
EuroAmerican Journal of Applied Linguistics and Languages
EN This article reports on a study, with online measures, which investigated the processing of subject-verb (SV) agreement sentences by one group of heritage Spanish speakers (HSs), two groups of L2 learners of Spanish (L1 English) and one group of traditional Spanish native speakers. Experimental SV sentences manipulated person and number features with subjects and verbs in the present tense. Between-group statistical analyses indicated differential processing between the heritage and the L2
... ritage and the L2 groups. The heritage group's performance was more native-like than the L2 participants. Within-subject tests showed some similar patterns between heritage and L2 high-level processing, including delayed sensitivity to ungrammaticality after the verb region. We argue that the HSs were able to process basic grammar structures, just as traditional native speakers do. This suggests early bilingualism conferred an advantage to HSS when compared to L2 learners, in the control of basic agreement in Spanish.