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Issues in Applied Linguistics

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Mood, Tense, and Copula Verb Selection in Near-Native Speakers of Spanish


The present study focuses on the use of Spanish by near-native speakers in the United States. I will consider near-native speakers to be those individuals who speak Spanish as a second language, who are capable of having a complex conversation in that language, who are able to understand any speaker, and who are able to function as professionals using Spanish in their field of work. The near-native speakers for this study consist of clergy and religious sisters from Allentown, Pennsylvania, who incorporate the use of Spanish in their ministry to the Hispanic communities in the United States within the Catholic church. The study examines the use of the indicative vs. subjunctive, the preterit vs. the imperfect, and copula verbs ser vs. estar, in relation to stylistic variables such as type of situation, topic of conversation, and type of discourse.

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