Sophia Minnillo (University of California, Davis)
English-dominant learners of Spanish often encounter difficulties in mastering the pretérito indefinido (preterit) and the pretérito imperfecto (imperfect), partially due to the differences in past tense-aspect marking between English and Spanish. In this talk, I discuss findings from two studies that investigate L1 English students’ development of (1) marking and (2) appropriate use of the preterit-imperfect. The participant sample, which includes both longitudinal and cross-sectional data, stems from the COWS-L2H and CEDEL2 corpora of learner Spanish. I investigate the extent to which certain factors–specifically, features of the verb marked and the target verb (frequency, distinctiveness, regularity), the students (course level), and the task (oral or written film retell)–predict students’ marking and appropriateness of preterit-imperfect use.