You are here: Home / news / Congratulations to Priscila López-Beltrán Forcada, on receiving a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Linguistics Program

Congratulations to Priscila López-Beltrán Forcada, on receiving a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Linguistics Program (2/2020-1/2022)! The title and abstract can be found below: 

Title: Heritage speakers processing of the Spanish subjunctive during online comprehension: A pupillometric study.

Summary: Within heritage language research, the Spanish subjunctive mood is perhaps the most studied construction. The vast majority of studies have concluded that heritage speakers’ knowledge of the Spanish subjunctive is subject to incomplete acquisition, language loss or simplification. Recently, however, several sociolinguistic studies have challenged deficit-oriented perspectives, providing evidence that, while different from that of monolingual native speakers, heritage speakers’ linguistic knowledge is by no means deficient. Given this disconnect between previous research and recent sociolinguistic findings, the proposed project employs a usage-based approach to integrate sociolinguistic data into the design of two psycholinguistic experiments that will examine heritage speakers’ processing of the subjunctive during online comprehension in long-standing bilingual communities in Albuquerque (NM), where Spanish is not in flux but, rather, maintained across generations. Two questions will be addressed: (1) To what degree are heritage speakers who live in a long-standing bilingual community sensitive to the linguistic factors (lexical and structural) constraining mood selection in Spanish? Experiment 1 will investigate lexical factors and Experiment 2 will examine structural factors, and (2) To what degree do social factors modulate heritage speakers’ sensitivity to mood selection? This question will be addressed by including sociolinguistic data obtained through a sociolinguistic interview and a language background questionnaire in generalized additive mixed-effects models.