Grammatical Gender in L2

Extended non-target optionality in L2 Grammatical Gender: An overabundance of constraints

By Andie Faber

On Friday, February 16th, Andie Faber presented her work on non-target optionality in grammatical gender among first and second language speakers of Spanish at Evolving perspectives on advancedness: A symposium on second language Spanish, organized by the University of Minnesota.

As professional and societal demands for multilingualism grow, many foreign language programs must produce advanced- to superior-level language users. However, how we define an “advanced” speaker is not always clear. Participants at the symposium spent three days discussing their research in Second Language Acquisition and how it can inform our definition of advancedness in second language Spanish speakers.

Andie Faber’s research addresses advancedness in late acquired structures, noting that while students at low to intermediate levels of Spanish understand the concept of gender agreement quite well, the nature of gender as an interface feature makes it a very difficult phenomenon to master, even at advanced levels of proficiency. She attributes this to the nature of grammatical gender as an interface feature and the numerous exceptions and idiosyncrasies that are found in its distribution in syntactic, morphological, semantic, and lexical domains. For more information, presentation slides have been provided below.

Extended optionality Presentation

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