Who does it better?The acquisition of Spanish grammatical gender by L1 English and L1 Russian adults

  1. Tamara Gómez Carrero 1
  2. Anastasiia Ogneva 2
  1. 1 Universidad de Valladolid

    Universidad de Valladolid

    Valladolid, España

    ROR https://ror.org/01fvbaw18

  2. 2 Universidade de Santiago de Compostela; Universidade da Coruña
Revista española de lingüística aplicada

ISSN: 0213-2028

Ano de publicación: 2024

Volume: 37

Número: 1

Páxinas: 143-171

Tipo: Artigo


Outras publicacións en: Revista española de lingüística aplicada


This study addresses the acquisition of second language (L2) Spanish grammatical gender by native speakers of two typologically different languages: English (n = 39) and Russian (n = 37). We aim to explore if the presence or absence of gender features in the first language (L1) influences the acquisition of Spanish grammatical gender. Participants completed an acceptability judgment task consisting of 40 sentences with grammatical and ungrammatical Spanish Determiner Phrases (DPs). They included masculine and feminine Ns (Nouns) with transparent or opaque endings. Our findings show that (1) both groups are sensitive to gender non-matching structures, although L1 Russian speakers gave the lowest scores to ungrammatical structures in Spanish; (2) higher rating scores to masculine matching DPs point to the use of masculine as default by both L2 groups; (3) Ns with transparent endings act as cues for L2 Spanish learners, since both groups of participants rated the non-matching DPs with transparent Ns more accurately than those with opaque Ns. Therefore, our findings suggest that gender in L2 Spanish can be acquired regardless of the presence or the absence of these grammatical property in the L1, although its presence in the L1 seems to accelerate this process.