Journal of Ibero-Romance Creoles

Volume 8 (2018)

A case study of three Chinese-Spanish varieties: Tense-Aspect morphology in instructed and non-instructed language use

Travis Evans-Sago (Indiana University - Bloomington)

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Researchers in second language acquisition (SLA) have examined the acquisition and use of tense-aspect (TA) morphology in predominantly tutored, second language (L2) varieties (Andersen & Shirai 1996; Bardovi-Harlig 1998; Quesada 2013; Salaberry 2005, 2011, 2013). Language contact scholars have focused on L2 acquisition in immigrant situations in which L2 learners acquire the host country’s language in an untutored environment (Clements 2002, 2003, 2009; Klein & Perdue 1992, 1997; Sharma & Deo 2010). This case study addresses the effects of instructed and non-instructed contexts on language learning by examining similarities and differences in L2 use of TA morphology among three Chinese-Spanish learner varieties: an untutored variety spoken by a Chinese immigrant living in Spain (Clements 2003, 2009) and two tutored varieties spoken by Chinese learners of Spanish who are studying in the United States and have varying degrees of experience with Spanish. The production data, retrieved from three 45-minute sociolinguistic interviews, yielded a total of 390 tokens. Quantitative and qualitative analyses revealed trends across the learner varieties, which include lower rates of overtly marking state verbs in all learner varieties, an innovative aspectual marker ya ‘already’ in the Chinese immigrant variety, and a distinct interplay of semantic factors for each L2 variety. Findings suggest an effect of the learning context on L2 use of TA morphology.

Keywords:  Second language acquisition, language contact, bilingualism, (non-)instructed contexts, immigrant speech, basic variety, pidgins and creoles, pidginization, tense, aspect, lexical aspect