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Dative constructions in the Spanish of heritage speakers in the Netherlands


Irizarri van Suchtelen,  Pablo
International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society, Nijmegen, NL;
Centre for Language Studies · Radboud University Nijmegen;

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Irizarri van Suchtelen, P. (2012). Dative constructions in the Spanish of heritage speakers in the Netherlands. In Z. Wąsik, & P. P. Chruszczewski (Eds.), Languages in contact 2011 (pp. 103-118). Wrocław: Philological School of Higher Education in Wrocław Publishing.

Spanish can use dative as well as non-dative strategies to encode Possessors, Human Sources, Interestees (datives of interest) and Experiencers. In Dutch this optionality is virtually absent, restricting dative encoding mainly to the Recipient of a ditransitive. The present study examines whether this may lead to instability of the non-prototypical dative constructions in the Spanish of Dutch-Spanish bilinguals. Elicited data of 12 Chilean heritage informants from the Netherlands were analyzed. Whereas the evidence on the stability of dative Experiencers was not conclusive, the results indicate that the use of prototypical datives, dative External Possessors, dative Human Sources and datives of interest is fairly stable in bilinguals, except for those with limited childhood exposure to Spanish. It is argued that the consistent preference for non-dative strategies of this group was primarily attributable to instability of the dative clitic, which affected all constructions, even the encoding of prototypical indirect objects