TO BE and not TO BE: A second language acquisition study in Spanish and English
This dissertation studies the second language acquisition of SER and ESTAR in native English speakers and also the acquisition of TO BE in native Spanish speakers. Through two experiments a sample of students is tested on their performance in translation tasks from their native language onto their second language. The analysis of their performance is focused on the syntactic and semantic aspects of the responses.
A working framework of SER and ESTAR is developed based on the data that was obtained in the two experiments and the subsequent statistical analysis. It is observed that there is a distinct difference in performance depending upon the direction of the translation task which is proportional to the degree of competence and the native tongue of a particular speaker.
Finally both SER and ESTAR are compared to TO BE at a syntactic and semantic level and a final model is presented that explains the performance of the speakers in the sample as well as the underlying linguistic mechanisms.