Influences on gender agreement in adjectives among adult learners of Spanish
Ayres, Ellen Marie
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Research shows that the acquisition of grammatical gender agreement is a major stumbling block for learners of foreign languages. Even after years of study, learners struggle to produce correct gender agreement within entire phrases, and they continue to make errors well into advanced stages of proficiency. This study investigates linguistic and extralinguistic factors effecting the gender agreement production of college-age learners of Spanish. Fifteen Spanish language learners participated in this study, completing interviews and picture description tasks, producing a range of adjectives, which modified a wide variety of nouns. Participants were told that the study involved various grammatical aspects of Spanish acquisition, but were not informed that gender agreement or adjectives were the objects of study. This study confirmed that learners of all levels continue to struggle with gender agreement, even at advanced levels of study.