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On the discourse anaphoric properties of Spanish pre- and post-nominal demonstratives: A comparative analysis

Iker Zulaica Hernández EMAIL logo
From the journal Linguistics


This paper studies the referring properties of post-nominal demonstratives in Spanish with an aim to contributing to our present understanding of this marked construction. A corpus analysis is presented, where 600 cases of pre- and post-nominal demonstratives are analyzed based on their discourse anaphoric properties: direct vs. indirect anaphora. The data reveal that post-nominal demonstratives are significantly preferred in cases of indirect anaphora; that is, where no antecedent is linguistically realized in the discourse, and the reference of the demonstrative anaphor has to be inferred from the discourse or situational context. Pre-nominal demonstratives, on the other hand, show a more balanced picture sharing similar numbers in direct and indirect anaphora. However, the data also reveal that post-nominal demonstratives can be used in direct anaphoric uses, which poses a problem for a categorical distinction between pre- and post-nominal demonstratives at the referential level. Since variability appears to be the nature of the phenomenon, I propose a uniform presuppositional characterization for pre- and post-nominal demonstratives that is able to account for the observed referential flexibility.


I would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on a previous draft. This research was supported by an IUPUI School of Liberal Arts Research Support Grant.


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Published Online: 2017-3-8
Published in Print: 2017-5-24

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