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College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Curriculum Vitae


Pablo E. Requena is an Assistant Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at the University of Texas at San Antonio (begiinning August 2019). He completed his undergraduate degree at the National University of Córdoba, Argentina, and an M.A and Ph.D. in Spanish with Dual Title in Language Science at The Pennsylvania State University. He held a faculty position at the University of Montana from 2015 to 2019.

Dr. Requena conducts Hispanic Linguistics research on how children acquire adult-like use of their community language/s. In particular, he is interested in how monolingual and bilingual children acquire aspects of Spanish morphosyntax such as aspectual or mood distinctions, case marking, and morphosyntactic variation. For example, he conducts studies on how children learn aspectual distinctions (such as the distinction between Juan es flaco and Juan está flaco ‘John is thin’, where each Spanish verb conveys a difference in meaning) or mood selection (subjunctive mood versus indicative mood), and on how children’s use of variable phenomena (such as the variable placement of lo in lo quiero comer versus quiero comerlo, both meaning ‘I want to eat it’) becomes adult-like. In order to conduct this research, first Dr. Requena carefully investigates what the speech of adults in the community looks like in order to uncover what patterns children need to learn. Then, he analyzes child speech as recorded in naturalistic conversations that children hold with their own caregivers or he conducts experimental tasks with children in order to study children’s language production and comprehension. Dr. Requena is interested in monolingual acquisition of these aspects of language as well as in what this process of acquisition looks like in Spanish-English bilingual children in the U.S.

Other areas of research Dr. Requena is interested in include cognitive development in childhood, sociolinguistics, bilingualism, language processing, and second language acquisition and teaching.


  • Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, State College (2015)

  • M.A., The Pennsylvania State University, State College (2012)

  • B.A., National University of Córdoba, Córdoba Argentina (2009)

Recent Courses

University of Montana

- Graduate Courses:

Special Topics in Spanish Grammar, Grad Seminar: Teaching FLs to Young Learners

- Linguistics courses:

Language in the Real World: Introduction to Applied Linguistics, Foreign Language Teaching Methods, Introduction to Spanish Linguistics, Spanish Phonetics

- Spanish Language Courses:

Advanced Composition and Conversation, Intermediate Spanish I, Elementary Spanish I

- Independent Studies and Research Courses:

Corpus study on Spoken Spanish, Experimental Research, Child L1 Development, Corpus Study of L1 Development

- Service Learning Course:

L2 Teaching Support Internship


The Pennsylvania State University

- Linguistics Course:

Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics (TA)

- Spanish Language Courses:

Basic Spanish II, Basic Spanish III

Research in Progress

Acquisition of Sociolinguistic Variation

  • Variable Clitic Placement

In Spanish, direct object pronouns may appear before or after certain verb constructions (e.g., lo quiero comprar vs. quiero comprarlo both meaning ‘I want to buy it’). This variation is affected by the particular verb used (e.g., querer ‘want’), by whether the direct object pronoun refers to an animate or an inanimate entity (e.g., a person = animate vs. a car = inanimate), and by other variables. When do children learn that this variation is affected by each of those variables? Does it take longer for children to learn some of the constraining factors that affect the placement of this pronoun? Do all Spanish-speaking children acquire this variation at the same age even across dialects that may display differences in the ways in which each factor affects this variation? What happens with this variation in Spanish-speaking children immersed in an English-speaking community, given that English only allows direct object pronouns to appear after the verb (e.g. She has to tell him)?

  • Differential Object Marking

This project analyzes the acquisition of the “a” marking (sometimes referred to as “a personal”). How do children learn that only some lexical Spanish direct objects (those that are animate and specific) are usually preceded by “a”? Could they use information on the verb in order to figure out how this pattern?


Acquisition of Tense, Aspect, or Mood

  • Ser and estar Copula Selection

The distinction that the two copula verbs in Spanish encode when used with adjectives allows speakers to distinguish properties that are temporally bounded (estar ‘be’, as in Juan está alto) versus properties that are not constrained by the present time (ser ‘be’, as in Juan es alto), among other meanings. How do children acquire the meaning distinction between these two verbs? Dr. Requena’s previous research has contributed evidence for the acquisition of this distinction among monolingual Spanish-speaking children by age four. Do children younger that four also know this distinction? If not, when do they acquire it? In addition, is the acquisition of this semantic distinction impacted by low frequency of Spanish use (as in children growing up in the U.S.)?

  • Mood Selection

Adult-like mastery of Spanish sentences like No creo que mi hermano venga ‘I don’t believe that my brother will come’ require a lot of knowledge of the grammar. One particular piece of knowledge that is required is the selection mood for the verb in the subordinate clause (venir ‘to come’). Spanish mood selection (between the Indicative and the Subjunctive moods) in these clauses has been found to depend not just on the verb in the main clause (e.g. no creer ‘not believe’) given that some verbs allow only one mood to follow, where other verbs allow both with some meaning distinction. How do children learn which mood/s is/are allowed with particular verbs in the main clause? When do children get adult-like in their selection of mood? What happens to mood selection when children live in an environment that does not require to select mood that frequently (as in Spanish-speaking children immersed in the U.S.)?

Recent Publications

Dracos, M.; Requena, P. E. & Miller, K. L. 2019. Acquisition of mood selection in Spanish-speaking children. Language Acquisition 26(1), 106-118.


Mannoiloff, M. L., Requena, P. E., Carando, C., Defagó, M. C., Alonso Alemany, L., Cesaretti, D., Ferrero, C., Ramirez, A., & Segui, J. 2018. Factores que influyen en la comprensión de las cláusulas subordinadas de relativo en español. (Factors that influence the comprehension of Spanish relative clauses). Onomázein 42, 23 – 52.


Requena, P.E. & *Tissera, M. V. 2018. Variation in Spanish L2 Textbooks: A Study of Variable Clitic Placement.  Hispania 101(1), 55-68.


Requena, P. E. & Dracos, M. 2018. Impermeability of L1 syntax: Spanish variable clitic placement in bilingual children. In: Bertolini, A.B. & M.J. Kaplan. (2018). Proceedings of the 42nd Boston University Conference on Language Development. (Volume 2) pp. 644-658. Somerville, MA. Cascadilla.


Requena, P. E.; Dracos, M.; & Miller, K. L. 2017. Acquisition of Spanish Mood Selection in Complement Clauses. In LaMendola, M. & J. Scott. Proceedings of the 41st Boston University Conference on Language Development. (Volume 2) pp. 563-575. Somerville, MA. Cascadilla.


Shin, N. L.; Requena, P. E. & Kemp, A. 2017. Bilingual and monolingual children's patterns of syntactic variation: Variable clitic placement in Spanish. In A. Auza Benavidez & R. G. Schwartz (Eds.) Language Disorders in Spanish-Speaking Children: Language Processing and Cognitive Functions. Zug, Switzerland: Springer.


Requena, P.E., Liruso, S.M., & Bollati, M.S. 2016. The young learner’s textbook as a visual model of interaction. Proceedings of the Federación Argentina de Profesores de Inglés Conference(San Juan, September).


Requena, P. E., Román-Hernández, A. I., & Miller, K. 2015. Children’s Knowledge of the Spanish Copulas Ser and Estar with Novel AdjectivesLanguage Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics 22(2), 193-207.


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