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A Pilot Study on the Use of Pronouns in Oral Productions of Spanish as a Second Language

10 pagesPublished: November 28, 2016


In this paper, some preliminary results on the use of pronouns in oral discourse of language learners of Spanish will be discussed. The article mainly focuses on the use of different kinds of personal pronouns and the pro-drop phenomenon, namely the existence of a null subject, typical of the Spanish language. The absence of an explicit subject due to a rich verbal conjugation opposes Spanish to other languages, such as French, English and Dutch, where an explicit subject pronoun is obligatory.
As to investigate the use of the pronouns by language learners of Spanish, we compiled a corpus of oral productions of second language learners of Spanish who are all native speakers of Dutch and also learned French and English, which means that for them the pro-drop phenomenon is new. We will investigate which kinds of pronouns are used in which syntactic contexts and indicate in what contexts the use of a pronoun is not required. Next to this, we observe in our learners’ corpus an unnecessary repetition of proper names and an over-use of personal pronouns as subjects. This can be related to the concept of "over-explicitation" or "overspecification", whereby learners of a second language tend to use more explicit forms than necessary.

Keyphrases: ELE, null subject, pronouns

In: Antonio Moreno Ortiz and Chantal Pérez-Hernández (editors). CILC2016. 8th International Conference on Corpus Linguistics, vol 1, pages 35--44

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Kim Collewaert and An Vande Casteele},
  title     = {A Pilot Study on the Use of Pronouns in Oral Productions of Spanish as a Second Language},
  booktitle = {CILC2016. 8th International Conference on Corpus Linguistics},
  editor    = {Antonio Moreno Ortiz and Chantal P\textbackslash{}'erez-Hern\textbackslash{}'andez},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Language and Linguistics},
  volume    = {1},
  pages     = {35--44},
  year      = {2016},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2398-5283},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/4bkm}}
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