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Language Sciences Colloquium – Stafford
April 25, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Time talk: How do bilinguals deploy lexical semantics, morphosyntax, and discourse structure to express temporality in Spanish?
Catherine Stafford & José Luis Garrido Rivera
Department of Spanish & Portuguese, UW-Madison
In this study we compare first- and second-generation Hispanic bilinguals’ time talk (Bardovi-Harlig, 2000) in Spanish with an eye toward identifying innovation across apparent time. More specifically, we examine how bilinguals integrate lexical semantics, morphosyntax, and discourse structure to convey temporal relationships in personal narratives. Participants (N = 33) were bilingual adults residing in Wisconsin at the time of the study. The first-generation bilinguals (n = 16) migrated to the U.S. after the age of 16 and had lived here between 10 and 41 years. They differed in terms of access to post-migration opportunities to use Spanish in social and professional settings. The second-generation bilinguals (n = 17) were either born in the U.S. or migrated here as children. These participants claimed both Spanish and English as native languages, and had in common the experiences of growing up using at least some Spanish at home and completing formal schooling in English. Like their first-generation counterparts, the second-generation bilinguals differed in terms of access to opportunities to use Spanish outside of the home. Data are derived from participants’ narratives of pivotal life experiences recounted during individual semi-structured interviews. Drawing on integrated analytic approaches from SLA research (e.g., Andersen & Shirai, 1994; Bardovi-Harlig, 1998), we conduct narrative analysis oriented to both meaning and form, examining how participants expressed temporality in Spanish with attention to lexical aspect, tense/aspect morphology, and discourse structure (i.e., distinguishing foreground and background events). Comparing time talk between groups, we explore the possible emergence of innovation in temporal expression in this bilingual community.