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Ties between the lexicon and grammar: cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of bilingual toddlers.
Studies using the English and Spanish MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories demonstrated that the grammatical abilities of 20-30-month-old bilingual children were related more strongly to same-language vocabulary development than to broader lexical-conceptual development or maturation. First, proportions of different word types in each language varied with same-language vocabulary size. Second, individual changes in predicate and closed class word proportion scores were linked to growth in same-language vocabulary but not to total conceptual vocabulary. Third, increases in English utterance length and English and Spanish sentence complexity were related to growth in same-language vocabulary but not to growth in conceptual vocabulary. Increases in Spanish utterance length were linked to growth in both Spanish vocabulary and conceptual vocabulary. Possible mechanisms underlying these patterns are considered. CD
Semantics prevalence over syntax during sentence processing: a brain potential study of noun-adjective agreement in Spanish.
A review of the literature about the interplay of syntax and semantics, using event-related brain potentials (ERPs), revealed that the results are highly heterogeneous, owing to several possible variables. An experiment was conducted with Spanish sentences that factorially combined syntactic and semantic violations in the same sentence-intermediate adjective and controlled for working memory demands, variables that in previous studies have rarely been taken into consideration. Violations consisted in noun-adjective number or gender disagreements (syntactic violation), noun-adjective semantic incompatibility (semantic violation), or both (combined violation). The N400 to semantic violations was unaffected by additional syntactic violations. The P600/SPS component, considered to reflect syntactic processes, was elicited by both single syntactic and semantic violations but seemed to be diminished in combined violations relative to single syntactic violations. These results suggest that under the conditions of the present experiment semantic information may have a prevailing role over syntactic information. BR
Admixture dynamics in Hispanics: a shift in the nuclear genetic ancestry of a South American population isolate.
Although it is well established that Hispanics generally have a mixed Native American, African, and European ancestry, the dynamics of admixture at the foundation of Hispanic populations is heterogeneous and poorly documented. Genetic analyses are potentially very informative for probing the early demographic history of these populations. Here we evaluate the genetic structure and admixture dynamics of a province in northwest Colombia (Antioquia), which prior analyses indicate was founded mostly by Spanish men and native women. We examined surname, Y chromosome, and mtDNA diversity in a geographically structured sample of the region and obtained admixture estimates with highly informative autosomal and X chromosome markers. We found evidence of reduced surname diversity and support for the introduction of several common surnames by single founders, consistent with the isolation of Antioquia after the colonial period. Y chromosome and mtDNA data indicate little population substructure among founder Antioquian municipalities. Interestingly, despite a nearly complete Native American mtDNA background, Antioquia has a markedly predominant European ancestry at the autosomal and X chromosome level, which suggests that, after foundation, continuing admixture with Spanish men (but not with native women) increased the European nuclear ancestry of Antioquia. This scenario is consistent with historical information and with results from population genetics theory. PNAS
Isonymic relationships in ethno-social categories (Argentinian colonial period) including illegitimate reproduction.
Surnames provide a useful method to study the structure of human populations for which biological data are not available. The isonymic method has had multiple applications, but difficulties emerge when dealing with groups where extramarital reproduction is common and the sample size is small, and even more so when only paternal surnames are taken into account.Therefore, it could be of interest to retain female surnames, including those of unmarried mothers. This study was carried out using all birth records froman Argentinian population in the colonial period, which was characterized by the presence of different ethno-social groups (Spanish, Indian and 'Mestizo'or mixed Spanish-Indian) and various reproductive patterns regarding legitimacy. Coefficient of relationship by isonymy (Ri) kinship matrices between geographical populations were obtained, and the results derived from sets of surnames (paternal, maternal of legitimate and illegitimate children,and all surnames in the registers) compared. The results show similar surname distribution regardless of the set of surnames and group considered.Kinship Ri matrices using paternal surnames, maternal surnames of legitimate children, maternal surnames of illegitimate children, and the set of whole surnames showed the same relationships among populations, indicating a similar pattern for Spanish, Indian and Mixed ethno-social groups. Mantel test correlation between all pairs of matrices was significant in all different ethno-social groups. The results suggest that in populations with high illegitimacy, such as that studied here, it is possible to include maternal surnames, even corresponding to single mothers, in order to consider total reproduction and therefore maximize sample size. JBS