This paper investigates the geometry of phi-features, with a special emphasis on number and gender in Spanish. We address two sets of questions: (i) are number and gender bundled together or do they constitute separate categories, and (ii) does the internal feature composition of number and gender follow a single- or a multi-valued system? Given the lack of consensus on these issues based on primary data, we approach these questions experimentally, using the phenomenon of agreement attraction: a situation in which ungrammatical sequences are perceived as grammatical when one of the NPs is erroneously identified as determining agreement. Our results offer novel support in favor of an agreement model in which number and gender are in separte projections and are valued independently. In addition, our results indicate that number but not gender in Spanish is multi-valued.
This paper discusses a common reality in many cases of multilingualism: heritage speakers, or unbalanced bilinguals, simultaneous or sequential, who shifted early in childhood from one language (their heritage language) to their dominant language (the language of their speech community). To demonstrate the relevance of heritage linguistics to the study of linguistic competence more broadly defined, we present a series of case studies on heritage linguistics, documenting some of the deficits and abilities typical of heritage speakers, together with the broader theoretical questions they inform. We consider the reorganization of morphosyntactic feature systems, the reanalysis of atypical argument structure, the attrition of the syntax of relativization, and the simplification of scope interpretations; these phenomena implicate diverging trajectories and outcomes in the development of heritage speakers. The case studies also have practical and methodological implications for the study of multilingualism. We conclude by discussing more general concepts central to linguistic inquiry, in particular, complexity and native speaker competence.