From ‘more’ to ‘less’: Spanish, Palenquero (Afro-Colombian creole) and gender agreement

John M. Lipski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The present study examines gender agreement in the Spanish-lexified creole language Palenquero. Palenquero and Spanish share largely cognate lexicons while Palenquero morphosyntax is in many respects a proper subset of Spanish, e.g. lacking grammatical gender. Experimental data are presented for traditional speakers, heritage speakers and school-trained L2 Palenquero speakers. Traditional speakers produced no instances of gender agreement, ‘corrected’ many instances of gender agreement in repetition tasks, and rejected a high proportion of gender agreement in acceptability judgements. L2 Palenquero speakers frequently introduced gender agreement in naming tasks, ‘corrected’ many genderless Palenquero stimuli to Spanish-like feminine configurations, and accepted a large number of gender-agreeing items in judgement tasks. Heritage speakers patterned closer to L2 speakers than to L1 speakers in correcting fewer gender-agreeing stimuli and accepting more gender-agreeing stimuli in judgement tasks. These preliminary results suggest that L2 and heritage speakers cannot fully suppress the Spanish elements responsible for gender agreement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1144-1155
Number of pages12
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 21 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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