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Subject Expression in Native and Non-Native Speakers of Spanish

Frank, Chandra N.
Abstract
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The project studied the differences in subject expression between native and non-native speakers of Spanish. It was hypothesized that as the non-native speakers gain greater proficiency, their subject expressions will look more like those produced by native speakers. To assess this, essays were collected from native speakers and three different levels of non-native speakers: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The relative frequencies of four different ways of expressing subject in Spanish were measured in each essay. These relative frequencies were compared by type across the levels using two different methods of analysis: an analysis of variance for pairwise comparisons using a randomization test and a multinomial regression analysis within a Bayesian framework using a Dirichlet prior. The two analyses agreed that there was a difference between the native group and every other proficiency level for almost every type of subject expression. They disagreed over whether there was a difference for two different types of subject expressions between the beginner and intermediate groups and the beginner and advanced groups. The results suggest that when teaching non-native speakers, more emphasis should be placed on the different types of subject expression and when it is best to use each one.
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University of Wyoming. Libraries
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Keywords
Spanish , Native , Non-native , Noun phrase , Pronoun , Null subject , Subject expression
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