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Revista signos

On-line version ISSN 0718-0934


HOLTHEUER, Carolina. Spanish-speaking children do not always overuse estar. Rev. signos [online]. 2012, vol.45, n.78, pp.3-19. ISSN 0718-0934.

Current research has shown that young Spanish-speaking children distinguish between ser and estar but fail to provide clear answers to questions such as which copula is easier/first to acquire. Some studies show that children perform worse with estar while others show that ser is mastered with more difficulty than estar. The current study presents the results of two experiments that tested children’s comprehension of ser and estar.The results indicate that i) children compute the inferences associated with estar when natural contextual information is provided, ii) children’s copular distinction is supported by syntactic factors, iii) children perform poorly when copula choice depends on contextual factors alone, and most importantly, iv) children do not assign estar interpretations to ser compatible environments. It is concluded that Spanish-speaking children do not always overuse estar as opposed to ser.

Keywords : Ser and estar; first language acquisition; comprehension tasks.

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