Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Linguistics

First Advisor's Name

Ellen Thompson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Melissa Baralt

Third Advisor's Name

Phillip Carter

Keywords

Linguistics, Brazilian Portuguese

Date of Defense

4-26-2013

Abstract

Influential bodies of work in language acquisition studies single out heritage bilingualism as a discrete acquisition process within the bilingualism continuum. In regards to the acquisition of WH-/QU- interrogatives containing prepositional phrases (PP), the present study examined whether heritage speakers (HS) of Brazilian Portuguese (BP) produce preposition stranding (P-stranding) constructions in their heritage language, in contrast to monolingual and adult speakers of BP, where prepositions are pied-piped to form the interrogative. Participants were HS of BP born in the USA and in Brazil, monolinguals, and late bilingual adults. The experiment consisted of an elicited production task and a grammaticality judgment task, both carried out in BP and then in English. Results showed that HS born in the USA use P-stranding in QU- interrogatives productively and systematically, in contrast to the other three groups. Moreover, no evidence of protracted acquisition was found in this group. No signs of attrition were detected among bilinguals.

Identifier

FI13080701

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