New Perspectives on the "Incomplete Acquisition" Debate in Heritage Language Bilingualism

Lecture | April 26 | 12-1 p.m. | B-4 Dwinelle Hall

 Eve Zyzik, Professor of Spanish, University of California, Santa Cruz

 Berkeley Language Center

In this presentation, I examine the use of the term ‘incomplete acquisition’ and the controversy it has generated in recent years (cf. Pascual y Cabo & Rothman, 2012; Kupisch & Rothman, 2016; Silva-Corvalán, 2018). Although the matter is a question of terminology, the debate reflects a very real dilemma in how to describe and ultimately explain heritage speakers’ language abilities. Are heritage speakers like native speakers in some ways and different in others? Is it fair to expect heritage speakers to wind up with grammars like native monolinguals? To shed light on these questions, I examine the original use of the term ‘incomplete acquisition’, the critiques against it, and the most recent line of argumentation to defend it. I will conclude by presenting my own research on innovation/creativity in Spanish, which suggests that ‘incompleteness’ is not the only outcome of heritage language acquisition.,