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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 June 2010

Kimberly L. Geeslin*
Indiana University
Aarnes Gudmestad
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
*Address correspondence to: Kimberly L. Geeslin, Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Ballantine Hall 844, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405; e-mail:


This article adds to the growing body of research focused on second-language (L2) variation and constitutes the first large-scale study of the production of potentially variable grammatical structures in Spanish by English-speaking learners. The overarching goal of the project is to assess the range of forms used and the degree to which native and L2 speakers of Spanish differ in several independently defined syntactic or discourse-based contexts. The contexts examined in the current study have been the object of sociolinguistic research in monolingual environments and include the following: copula contrast, mood distinction, past-time reference, future-time reference, and subject expression. Interview data from 16 English-speaking learners and 16 native speakers of Spanish from a variety of countries, all of whom are part of a single speech community in the United States, are examined. The analysis focuses on the range of forms used in each of the contexts investigated and the frequency with which these forms appear. A possible relation of individual characteristics, such as country of origin, years of language study, and time spent abroad, to this frequency of use is also considered.

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