Skip navigation

Subject inversion in non-native Spanish

Subject inversion in non-native Spanish

Domínguez, Laura and Arche, María J. (2014) Subject inversion in non-native Spanish. Lingua, 145. pp. 243-265. ISSN 0024-3841 (doi:

(item_6422)_ARCHE_2014_AAM_version.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (944kB)
[img] PDF (Email of Acceptance)
6422_ARCHE_Acceptance_Email_2014.pdf - Additional Metadata
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (24kB)


This study presents new empirical evidence on the L2 acquisition of Spanish SV–VS contrasts, a syntax-pragmatics interface phenomenon. Results from a context-dependant preference task involving unergative and unaccusative verbs in different focus situations (broad and narrow focus) reveal that beginner and intermediate English speakers prefer SV in all contexts. In contrast, advanced learners, who clearly know that VS is possible in Spanish, show a pattern of optionality with unergative verbs (in both broad and narrow focus contexts), whereas VS is correctly preferred with unaccusative verbs in both broad and narrowly-focused contexts. We argue that these results can be explained by a representational deficit according to which the VS order is overgeneralised to unergative verbs regardless of the discursive situation. We argue that learners’ overuse of VS structures is exacerbated by the lack of clear evidence for the use of SV and VS forms in the native input.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] This record includes the Accepted Author Manuscript (AAM) Version. This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Lingua. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Lingua, [145, (2014)] DOI 10.1016/j.lingua.2014.04.004. [2] Manuscript received 3 August 2012, Revised 10 March 2014, Accepted 2 April 2014, Available online 16 May 2014. [3] This study was supported by a research grant funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (RES-062-23-1075).
Uncontrolled Keywords: word order, inversion, intransitive verbs, unaccusatives, interfaces, subject, Spanish
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 19 May 2020 13:25

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics