GENDER ASSIGNMENT IN L2 SPANISH INTERLANGUAGE: COMPARISON AMONG ENLIGH, GERMAN, AND FRENCH L1 ADULT LEARNERS
Berdasco Munoz, Elena
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The purpose of the present study was to examine gender assignment in second language Spanish at an advanced-beginner level. It also aimed to describe the nature of the relationship between the presence or absence of the gender feature and the causes of divergence among the three different L1 groups (English, German, French). This study uses 229 learners’ data to gain insight into the processes involved in Spanish gender acquisition. Three variables were analyzed: morphological similarity, noun ending and possible gender concurrence or non-concurrence with Spanish. To date, few studies have examined these variables, especially, gender transfer, in assessing gender acquisition. The findings reveal that animacy, morphological similarity, and overt ending cues facilitate gender assignment in all groups. A more detailed analysis reveals that positive and negative L1 transfer affects gender assignment in groups with the gender feature in their first language. In contrast, frequency and morphophonological factors influence learners’ performance without the gender feature.