This study examines the L2 acquisition of word order variation in Spanish by three groups of L1 English learners in an instructed setting. The three groups represent learners at three different L2 proficiencies: beginners, intermediate and advanced. The aim of the study is to analyse the acquisition of word order variation in a situation where the target input is highly ambiguous, since two apparent optional forms exist in the target grammar, in order to examine how the optionality is disambiguated by learners from the earlier stages of learning to the more advanced. Our results support the hypothesis that an account based on a discourse-pragmatics deficit cannot satisfactorily explain learners’ non-targetlike representations in the contexts analysed in our study
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