Preterit-imperfect acquisition in L2 Spanish writing: Moving beyond lexical aspect

Keywords: tense-aspect acquisition, Spanish as a second language, preterit and imperfect, learner corpus research


While research on second language (L2) tense-aspect acquisition has flourished, most studies have focused on lexical aspect as an explanatory variable (Bardovi-Harlig and Comajoan-Colomé 2020). However, the role of the features of first language (L1) production in L2 Spanish preterit-imperfect acquisition has never been tested before. Prior research has found that the frequency and distinctiveness of verb forms in corpora of L1 English production predict L2 English learners’ tense-aspect production (Wulff et al. 2009). The present study aims to replicate these findings and test the predictions of hypotheses of L2 tense-aspect acquisition in another group of learners: English-dominant, instructed Spanish learners. Analyses were performed on longitudinal data from the Corpus of Written Spanish of L2 and Heritage Speakers (COWS-L2H; Yamada et al. 2020) and cross-sectional data from the Corpus Escrito del Español L2 (CEDEL2; Lozano 2021). Results indicate that L1 verb frequency and distinctiveness predict learners’ emergent use of the preterit and the imperfect.


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How to Cite
Minnillo, S., Sánchez-Gutiérrez, C., Carando, A., Davidson, S., Fernández Mira, P., & Sagae, K. (2022). Preterit-imperfect acquisition in L2 Spanish writing: Moving beyond lexical aspect. Research in Corpus Linguistics, 10(1), 156-184.