Ana Pérez-Leroux

Ana Pérez-Leroux
University of Toronto | U of T · Department of Spanish and Portuguese

About

90
Publications
10,093
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1,363
Citations
Citations since 2017
22 Research Items
643 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
Introduction

Publications

Publications (90)
Article
Languages vary according to which morphosyntactic forms of embedding are present in the grammar as well as to which of these forms allow recursive embedding. The present study examines how German-speaking children discover which forms of embedding are recursive. In German, possessive modifiers are expressed by several structural options (i.e., geni...
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Introduction and objectives This study compares data collection approaches in the assessment of grammatical development in Spanish-speaking children. Specifically, we compared error rates produced in data collected using samples from spontaneous language versus elicited production, using both broad (overall) and narrow measures (errors with noun ph...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this study was to find morphological markers with good diagnostic accuracy to identify developmental language disorders (DLD) in Spanish–English bilingual children. Method The participants in this study included 66 Spanish–English bilingual children between the ages of 4;0 and 6;11 (years;months) with ( n = 33) and without D...
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Prior studies have examined the association between modifying adjective placement and interpretation in second language (L2) Spanish. These studies show evidence of convergence with native speaker’s intuitions, which is interpreted as restructuring of the underlying grammar. Two issues deserve further study: (i) there are debates on the nature of n...
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Does bilingual language influence in the domain of phonetics impact the morphosyntactic domain? Spanish gender is encoded by word-final, unstressed vowels (/a e o/), which may diphthongize in word-boundary vowel sequences. English neutralizes unstressed final vowels and separates across-word vocalic sequences. The realization of gender vowels as sc...
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Recursive NPs are difficult to produce and late to emerge. We compare prosodic and syntactic abilities in Japanese-speaking five- and six-year-olds (n = 28) and adults (n = 10). It is reported that syntactic structure in Japanese is prosodically marked via downstep and metrical boost. Results of an elicited imitation task suggested that children ha...
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Sequences of multiple modifying adjectives are subject to poorly understood lexical ordering restrictions. There are certain commonalities to these restrictions across languages, as well as substantive language variation. Ordering restrictions in Spanish are still under empirical debate, with some proposing strict ordering for direct modifier adjec...
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Does language development drive language change? A common account of language change attributes the regularity of certain patterns to children’s learning biases. The present study examines these predictions for change-in-progress in the use of must in Toronto English. Historically, modal verbs like must start with root (deontic) meanings, eventuall...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this study was to identify which morphological markers have the best diagnostic accuracy to identify developmental language disorders (DLD) in monolingual Spanish-speaking children. Method The participants in this study included 50 Spanish-speaking monolingual children with ( n = 25) and without ( n = 25) DLD. Data collectio...
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This study examines bilingual effects in Spanish–English bilingual children with good maintenance of the minority language. The present study compares the performance of a group of Spanish-monolingual children (MON; n = 30) with two groups of Spanish-speaking bilingual children (Low English proficiency group: LEP; n = 36; High English proficiency g...
Book
This Festschrift Issue of the University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers honors the 75th birthday of Tom Roeper. Collaborators, former students and friends over many years have come together to recognize Tom’s pioneering achievements in the field, and to acknowledge his generous and inspiring contributions to our work. See the pdf for the Table...
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Despite sensitivity to the contextual demands of modification, children struggle with the production of complex NPs. What syntactic or semantic properties of NP embedding specifically introduce complexity? We compare production of definite descriptions with two modifiers that contrast in the attachment of the second modifier: sequential vs. recursi...
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This paper investigates nominal recursive modification (RM) in the L1 acquisition of French. Although recursion is considered the fundamental property of human languages, recursive self-embedding is found to be difficult for children in a variety of languages and constructions. Despite these challenges, the acquisition of RM proves to be resilient;...
Book
Direct object omission is a general occurrence, observed in varying degrees across the world's languages. The expression of verbal transitivity in small children begins with the regular use of verbs without their object, even where object omissions are illicit in the ambient language. Grounded in generative grammar and learnability theory, this boo...
Article
We investigate the effect of French clitic construction on verb learning. In French, object pronouns precede the verb, and the canonical direct object position remains empty. We test whether children treat such contexts as input for transitivity (since a direct object is morphologically identified) or optional transitivity (due to the empty direct...
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The present study examines whether bilingual children are delayed in the ability to produce complex DPs. We elicited production of DPs containing two PP modifiers, in two conditions designed to tease apart the acquisition of an embedding rule from the acquisition of the recursivity of an embedding rule. In the recursive condition, one modifier PP w...
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Subjunctive mood in complement clauses is licensed under selection from certain predicates or under the scope of a modal or negation. In contexts where mood choice varies, such as the complement of a negated epistemic verb no creer, it introduces a contrast in interpretation. The subjunctive is thought to contribute to a shift in the modal anchorin...
Article
This study investigates the use of the Spanish subjunctive in bilingual children with and without specific language impairments (SLI). Using an elicitation task, we examine: (i) the potential of the subjunctive as a grammatical marker of SLI in Spanish-English bilingual children, (ii) the extent to which degree of bilingualism affects performance,...
Article
Carroll's critique (Carroll) of the field of bilingualism yields strong directives. Let us not study specific groups of bilinguals, and make big claims about bilingual learning. Let us not study one domain, say vocabulary, and generalize to bilinguals’ language . These are all valid points. She also voices strong skepticism about how current litera...
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This study examines the interaction between language impairment and different levels of bilingual proficiency. Specifically, we explore the potential of articles and direct object pronouns as clinical markers of primary language impairment (PLI) in bilingual Spanish-speaking children. The study compared children with PLI and typically developing (T...
Chapter
In this study on codeswitching, we examine how the dominant language of a speaker may affect how quickly a bilingual will process a codeswitch at different junctures within a given phrase. In an online experiment, participants were given four different switch points (NP-VP, pro-VP, V-Comp, and Comp-IP) in two bilingual guises (Spanish-English, Engl...
Article
Ambridge, Pine, and Lieven (AP&L) claim that the knowledge attributed to children by the proponents of UG does not account for language acquisition, bringing evidence from several domains. In this response, we take issue with their claims with respect to two domains. In the case of categories, where distributional learning plays an important role,...
Article
This article explores a defining property of implicit null object constructions, and how this property emerges during the L1 acquisition process. Implicit objects are non-referential and characterized by a strong semantic association between a null N in object position and the contents of the verb root. By means of an elicited production study, we...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on second language (L2) learners of Spanish whose first language (L1) is English. It starts with a general contrast of how adult L2 learners compare to monolingual child learners, followed by a brief account of how the logic of population comparisons evolved. The chapter illustrates these population comparisons in three domains...
Article
This article assesses the impact of bilingualism on the acquisition of pronominal direct objects in French and English (clitics in French and strong pronouns in English). We show that, in comparison to monolingual children, bilingual children omit more pronominal objects for a longer period in both languages. At the same time, the development in ea...
Article
This study examines the acquisition of the featural constraints on clitic and null distribution in Spanish among simultaneous and sequential Chinese-Spanish bilinguals from Peru. A truth value judgment task targeted the referential meaning of null objects in a negation context. Objects were elicited via two clitic elicitation tasks that targeted an...
Article
Recursion is the ability to iterate syntactic constituents inside constituents. Experimental and corpus literature indicates that comprehending recursive structures is difficult for children. Since recursion is a fundamental property of language, the result of the application of core minimal tools (merge, label, and select), why does it present an...
Article
This study explores the hypothesis that vocabulary growth can have 2 types of effects in morphosyntactic development. One is a general effect, where vocabulary growth globally determines utterance complexity, defined in terms of sentence length and rates of subordination. There are also specific effects, where vocabulary size has a selective impact...
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If compositionality (the assumption that the meaning of an utterance is determined by the meaning of its parts and the way they combine) is an inherent property of the human language, we expect children to attribute meaning to even small differences in sentence form. The input contains minimal contrasts as in (1), whose interpretation may not be ea...
Article
Language typology and the acquisition of bare noun/DP contrasts - Volume 56 Issue 3 - Ana T. Pérez-Leroux, Anna Gavarró Algueró, Thomas Roeper
Article
Acquisition theory should be able to provide an explanation for the complexity of adult grammar, and the stages children go through in their path to attain the abstractness of the adult system. Current debate obscures the problem by failing to explicitly address the complexity of early representations. It is fundamental to offer concrete proposals...
Article
Theories of early language development differ in the degree of abstraction granted to the early stages, and in the perspectives these adopt with regards to the interaction between lexicon and syntax. The paradigm associated with generative approaches and the continuity hypothesis attributes early complexity and abstraction to access to innate knowl...
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This article offers a closer look at the relationship between object omission in child language and the acquisition of object clitics. The study isolates a context in French where the use of an object clitic is not only possible, or optimal, but mostly obligatory in the adult grammar, namely the clitic left-dislocation context. In addition, the art...
Article
We examine morphosyntactic knowledge of Labrador Inuttitut by Inuit receptive bilinguals (RBs) – heritage speakers who are capable of comprehension, but produce little or no speech. A grammaticality judgment study suggests that RBs possess sensitivity to morphosyntactic violations, though to a lesser degree than fluent bilinguals. Low-proficiency R...
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In this study we consider the role of cross-linguistic influence in the domain of wh -movement and subject-verb inversion in children simultaneously acquiring Dutch and French, two typologically different languages. Wh -questions were elicited in Dutch by means of an elicited production task. The participants consisted of 5- and 7-year-old Dutch-Fr...
Article
Can transfer occur in child bilingual syntax when surface overlap does not involve the syntax-pragmatics interface? Twenty-three Spanish/English bilingual children participated in an elicited imitation study of clitic placement in Spanish restructuring contexts, where variable word order is not associated with pragmatic or semantic factors. Bilingu...
Article
Linguistics in Canada is a vibrant, flourishing field. In the Canadian research context, the social relevance of the formal study of languages and linguistics is well-understood. The Canadian Linguistics Association and the Canadian Journal of Linguistics have a strong tradition of linking the theoretical studies of language with the native languag...
Article
This study investigates the complexity of the mapping task in children's acquisition of the Spanish subjunctive in temporal clauses. We consider that children's difficulty with this task arises from the interaction between mood and other elements determining the evaluation of the temporal clause, such as semantic factors, tense, and cognition. Fort...
Article
This study investigates the complexity of the mapping task in children’s acquisition of the Spanish subjunctive in temporal clauses. We consider that children’s difficulty with this task arises from the interaction between mood and other elements determining the evaluation of the temporal clause, such as semantic factors, tense, and cognition. Fort...
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Full-text available
Introduction to the special issue on Hispanic linguistics in Canada - Volume 55 Issue 2 - Joyce Bruhn de Garavito, David Heap, Ana T. Pérez-Leroux
Article
This study examined the existence of an object omission stage and the interaction between object omissions and substitution errors in the early stages of the development of Spanish syntax. One hundred and three Spanish-speaking children from Colombia completed an elicitation task evaluating the production of direct object pronouns. Results indicate...
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The purpose of the current study is to examine language influence in sequential bilinguals. Specifically, this study evaluates whether performance in a first language predicts success in the acquisition of a second language nine months after exposure to the second language begins. Forty-nine Spanish-speaking children attending English-only pre-kind...
Article
Where do the two languages of the bilingual child interact? The literature has debated whether bilingual children have delays in the acquisition of direct objects. The variety of methods and languages involved have prevented clear conclusions. In a transitivity-based approach, null objects are a default structural possibility, present in all langua...
Article
ABSTRACT  Discussions about inclusion in the foreign language classroom should address the issues of linguistic diversity and dialectal sensitivity. Foreign language departments are particularly vulnerable to linguistic conflict, but they can address such conflicts proactively. We argue that a linguistically diverse pool of teachers can work togeth...
Article
Language acquisition consists of both learning language-specific forms and structures, as well as mastering the ability to make use of these forms for communication. From this perspective, language is included among the many processes involved in the development of theory of mind (ToM) that is, the capacity to understand subjectivity and the mental...
Article
Language acquisition consists of both learning language-specific forms and structures, as well as mastering the ability to make use of these forms for communication. From this perspective, language is included among the many processes involved in the development of theory of mind (ToM) that is, the capacity to understand subjectivity and the mental...
Article
Object realization or omission has both a syntactic component (what kinds of mechanisms govern the licensing and recoverability of null objects) and a lexical component (what types of verbs allow optional realization of their direct object argument). In this paper, we consider early object omissions in two experimental studies with French and Engli...
Article
La defensa de Llinàs-Grau de la investigaciones generativistas del aprendizaje del lenguaje se concentra en la observación de que las producciones lingüísticas tempranas contienen correlaciones específicas entre estructura y sentido, y contingencias en la distribución de rasgos formales. Este hecho evidencia acceso al conocimiento innato de la gram...
Chapter
The study of second language acquisition is defined by two types of problems: the projection problem and the developmental problem. The projection problem, or poverty of the stimulus problem (Chomsky 1986, Flynn & O’Neill 1988, White 1989, etc.) concerns the question of why learners’ knowledge seems to go beyond experience. To address this problem...
Book
Recent developments in linguistic theory, as well as the growing body of evidence from languages other than English, provide new opportunities for deeper explorations into how language is represented in the mind of learners. This collection of new empirical studies on the acquisition of Spanish morphosyntax by leading researchers in the field of la...
Article
The acquisition of Spanish null pronouns is an optimal domain for comparing the predictions of generativist vs. probabilistic approaches to language acquisition. This paper presents two studies on the acquisition of null subjects by English adult learners of Spanish as a second language. The first investigates a low frequency construction in which...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies on the acquisition of factivity have shown partial understanding of factive complements, as well as problems with their syntactic structure. These studies fail to consider language variation and the possible role of tense and aspect as morphological markers of factivity. An experiment tested comprehension of factive complements in...
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The special semantic characteristics of bare nominals (nonspecificity and lack of scopal interactions) are best explained in terms of an approach that views these not as full DPs, but as minimal nominal projections containing an internal pro argument. The evidence from child language suggests that such aspects of the interpretation of bare nominals...
Article
Although children acquire Spanish subjunctive morphology early in the process of language acquisition, they only master mood selection in a staged process that lasts for several years. This paper examines the possibility that the acquisition of subjunctive mood selection in particular syntactic contexts is constrained by cognitive development in th...
Article
This article proposes an explanation for the use of resumptives in child language based on the [±variable] feature of the nominal system. It has been suggested that resumptive pronouns in children's relatives are an indication of nonmovement or of an incompletely developed trace theory. These approaches are problematic, because resumptives appear c...
Article
PadillaJosé A., On the definition of binding domains in Spanish. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990. Pp. xvii + 163. - Volume 19 Issue 2 - Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux
Article
En: Cognitiva Madrid 2003, v. 15, n. 2 ; p. 187-195 La defensa de Llinás-Grau de las investigaciones generativistas del aprendizaje del lenguaje se concentra en la observación de que las producciones lingüísticas tempranas contienen correlaciones específicas entre estructura y sentido, y contingencias en la distribución de rasgos formales. Este hec...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Archived project
With two sets of language production and comprehension experiments, this project explores the acquisition of restrictive and appositive relative clauses in German. The aim is to close two research gaps in our understanding of the interaction between core formal and functional properties. Despite the wide range of studies of acquisition of relative clauses, the question of whether children are able to distinguish restrictive from appositive relative clauses has not often been considered. Furthermore, research on relative clauses in German has been restricted mainly to the process of production. With respect to formal properties, the project seeks answers to the following questions: Through what stages of acquisition do German-speaking children pass as they begin to produce relative clause structures? Are these learners sensitive to formal properties that distinguish the two types of relative clauses, such as verb position and order constraints? With respect to functional properties, the project seeks to ascertain when the semantic-pragmatic functions of restriction and apposition are actually acquired. Also, to what extent do prototypical functions of relative clauses play a role, and is there a preference for one specific function? Furthermore, the project will examine how the acquisition of formal properties (e.g. verb order) interacts with restriction/non-restriction, and when and under which circumstances verb-second and verb-last relative clauses get assigned different functions.