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  • Carla Contemori (a1), Ohood Asiri (a2) and Elva Deida Perea Irigoyen (a3)


We test the interpretation of pronominal forms in L2 speakers of English whose L1 is Spanish. Previous research on learners of nonnull subject languages has shown conflicting results. The aim of the present study is to reconcile previous evidence and shed light on the factors that determine learners’ difficulty to interpret pronominal forms in the L2. In six comprehension experiments, we found that intermediate L2 speakers did not show increased difficulty compared to native speakers in integrating multiple sources of information (syntactic, discourse, pragmatic) to resolve ambiguous pronouns in intrasentential anaphora and cataphora conditions. However, we also found that when two referents with equal prominence are introduced using a conjoined noun phrase in the preceding context, the learner’s performance is significantly different than the performance of the native speakers, both in intrasentential and intersentential anaphora. We suggest that L2 speakers may encounter difficulties evaluating the salience of the antecedents during pronoun resolution.


Corresponding author

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Carla Contemori, Department of Languages and Linguistics, University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W. University Ave, El Paso, Texas 79968. E-mail:


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  • Carla Contemori (a1), Ohood Asiri (a2) and Elva Deida Perea Irigoyen (a3)


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