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Abstract

This paper analyses the combinatorial restrictions that operate in clitic clusters in certain Eastern Iberian varieties (Aragonese, Spanish, and Catalan). In particular, I focus on the combination of third person clitics. As it is well known, in some Romance varieties the combination of a third person accusative clitic and a third person dative clitic is banned (the so-called ∗le lo restriction, Bonet, Eulàlia. 1991. Morphology after syntax: Pronominal clitics in Romance. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Dissertation; Cuervo, María Cristina. 2013. Spanish clitic clusters: Three of a perfect pair. Borealis: An International Journal of Hispanic Linguistics 2. 191–220; Nevins, Andrew. 2007. The representation of third person and its consequences for person-case effects. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 25(2). 273–313; Ordóñez, Francisco. 2002. Some clitic combinations in the syntax of Romance. Catalan Journal of Linguistics 1. 201–224, Ordóñez, Francisco. 2012. Clitics in Spanish. In José I. Hualde, Antxon Olarrea & Erin O’Rouke (eds.), The handbook of Spanish Linguistics, 423–453. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell; Perlmutter, David. 1971. Deep and surface structure constraints in syntax. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston). In order to license this troublesome combination, languages resort to different ‘repair strategies’ modifying the structure of one of the merged clitics. In the literature on clitic combinations, there have been two main proposals of analysis: morphological and syntactical. In this paper, I put forward an analysis based on the Distinctness Condition (Hiraiwa, Ken. 2010. The syntactic OCP. In Yukio Otsu (ed.), The proceedings of the 11th Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics, 35–56. Hituzi: Tokyo; Neeleman, Ad & Hans van de Koot. 2005. Syntactic haplology. In Martin Everaert & Henk van Riemsdijk (eds.), The Blackwell companion to syntax, 685–710. Wiley-Blackwell; Perlmutter, David. 1971. Deep and surface structure constraints in syntax. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston; Richards, Norvin. 2010. Uttering trees, vol. 56. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; Van Riemsdijk, Henk. 1998. Categorial feature magnetism: The endocentricity and distribution of projections. The Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 2(1). 1–48; Yip, Moira. 1998. Identity avoxidance in phonology and morphology. In Steven G. Lapointe, Diane K. Brentari & Patrick M. Farell (eds.), Mophology and its relation to phonology and syntax, 216–246. Stanford, CA: CSLI). Specifically, I argue that the restrictions that constraint clitic combinations are due to the impossibility to linearize two identical syntactic objects, such as <XP, XP> (Chomsky, Noam. 2013. Problems of projection. Lingua 130. 33–49; Chomsky, Noam. 2015. Problems of projection. In Elisa Di Domenico, Cornelia Hamann & Simona Matteini (eds.), Structures, strategies and beyond: Studies in honour of Adriana Belletti, 1–16. Amsterdam: John Benjamins; Moro, Andrea. 2000. Dynamic antisymmetry (No. 38). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; Richards, Norvin. 2010. Uttering trees, vol. 56. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press). From this perspective, cross-linguistic variation is the result of different ‘repair strategies’ languages deploy to make <XP, XP> objects linearizable (Richards, Norvin. 2010. Uttering trees, vol. 56. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).

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Abstract

The goal of this article is to discuss the nature of so-called perfective adjectives in Spanish (desnudo ‘naked,’ suelto ‘loose’). We do so through a discussion of the problem that participles are blocked by perfective adjectives in some contexts (Dejó la habitación {limpia / ∗limpiada} ‘He left the room {clean / ∗cleaned}). We will argue that perfective adjectives contain in their internal structure a StateP that can contextually be interpreted as a result state; this head has morphological, syntactic and semantic effects, and makes the structure spelled out by the perfective adjective identical to the one associated with a small participle, with the result that a principle of lexical economy blocks the participial morphology in situations where only the small participle is allowed.

Abstract

Previous studies of native English speakers learning Spanish as a second language (L2) document compromise voice onset time (VOT) values; however, the focus has been predominantly on voiceless stops and has almost exclusively investigated beginning and intermediate learners. This study fills a gap in the literature by considering the acquisition of VOT in both voiceless and voiced Spanish stops by long-time native English-speaking residents of Spain. Overall, the results show that the L2 speakers’ VOT values differ from those of native speakers across all stop consonants; yet L2 speakers’ productions of voiceless, as opposed to voiced, stops more closely approximate those of native speakers. Considerable individual variation is observed as no speaker achieves native-like performance overall, and no consonant is mastered by more than half of the speakers. Results are considered in light of what they contribute to our understanding of ultimate attainment of Spanish VOT, specifically, and L2 phonology more generally.

Abstract

The study of mirativity as a semantic-pragmatic concept is the study of the status or expectation of knowledge (DeLancey 2012; Sánchez López 2017). In Spanish, mirativity is expressed by the use of strategies such as intonation, exclamatory sentences, focus fronting, and the use of mirative particles. This paper examines the mirative particle adiós (lit. ‘to god’) in Puerto Rican Spanish. I divide the paper into two parts: first, I examine the structural distribution of adiós and its various mirative values (cf. Aikhenvald 2012); second, I look into several properties of adiós that are characteristic of expressive meaning rather than truth-conditional meaning (cf. Potts 2007). The essential function of adiós is to signal that a proposition-at-hand is new and unexpected information to the speaker. As derived from this mirative value, adiós implicates a speaker-oriented perspective and the speaker’s concomitant surprise. Aside from its mirative role in the sentence, adiós does not alter the truth-value of the sentence. For this reason, the function of Spanish mirative particles is best captured within an expressive account of meaning. As I illustrate in the analysis, the use of adiós, and other mirative particles alike, is consistent with Potts’ (2007) characteristics of expressive content: independence, non-displaceability, descriptive ineffability, and repeatability.

Abstract

Spanish is a dual copula system — ser and estar. According to traditional interpretations of their distribution, estar does not take nominal complements. Instead, this type of complements appears with the copula ser. There are, however, some counterexamples to this rule. On the one hand, we have examples such as Pepe estuvo torero ayer ‘Pepe was like a bullfighter yesterday.’ In this example, the noun torero does not have its usual interpretation, but rather it refers to the prototypical qualities associated with bullfighters — bravery, unfazed by danger. In this manner, the restriction that Spanish imposes on the copula estar regarding NP complementation does not seem apply in cases where the NP does not provide an identificational interpretation, but rather one associated with the prototypical qualities associated with the noun. A second case in which estar can take nominal complements can be seen in examples such as Esta película está una masa ‘This movie is pretty cool.’ This type of estar predication has a different interpretation than the ones presented in the previous example. While the former provides a predication denoting the properties associated with the noun, the nouns in the latter are expressing a measure of quality regarding their subject. The subjects película ‘movie’ is not being identified with the prototypical qualities of a mass but rather are expressions of high quality. In this respect, the estar predication in this example can be ascribed to the evidential uses of estar. Not every dialect of Spanish can produce examples such as the ones found in the está una masa example, while data similar to está torero is common in all the dialectal continuum. The focus of this investigation is to examine these two types of nominal complements with estar and provide an analysis of the differences between them, as well as provide an explanation regarding their acceptability in estar predications.

Abstract

This paper aims to account for a host of old and novel syntactic contrasts between the emphatic polarity particle ‘yes’ and its putative counterpart with an instance of the complementizer quesí que ‘yes that’ in Spanish. Even though the two constructions appear to be synonymous in certain contexts, closer inspection reveals that the two elements display a number of non-trivial asymmetries in their behavior and distribution and convey different meanings. We thus argue that the two elements should be treated differently. Building on Hernanz (2007 and subsequent work), we propose that , which marks focal positive polarity, i.e., verum focus, originates in ΣP and then moves to FocusP. By contrast, sí que is directly merged in a projection below TopicP but higher than FocusP in the left periphery, does not encode polarity, and instead renders the meaning that the speaker is extremely confident about the propositional content, be it positive or negative. We argue that sí que involves more CP structure than , which makes a variety of correct empirical predictions.

Abstract

Spanish voiced obstruents are traditionally described as having a stop allophone [b, d, g] and a lenited allophone [β, ð, ɣ]. Despite this binary classification, acoustic data has shown that this variation is continuous or gradient depending on the preceding linguistic context. The goal of this paper is to investigate how the following linguistic context affects the degree of Spanish voiced obstruent lenition. Specifically, this paper reports an acoustic investigation of Spanish voiced obstruent lenition in onset cluster contexts. Nine native Spanish speakers were recorded reading Spanish-like nonce words that included a singleton voiced obstruent or an onset cluster consisting of a voiced obstruent plus [ɾ] or [l]. The relative intensity and the duration of these segments were measured and compared with linear mixed-effects regressions. In line with past work, the results show that the voiced obstruents are the most lenited in intervocalic contexts. However, Spanish voiced obstruents are significantly less lenited when followed by [ɾ] in a complex onset; when followed by [l] in a complex onset, the degree of lenition is much more variable. These results provide further support for the gradient lenition of Spanish voiced obstruents, rather than a dichotomous distribution of stops versus lenited variants.