Spanish reflexive forms in prepositional phrases often occur with the adjective mismo ‘self’ (e.g., para sí vs. para sí mismo ‘for himself’). This co-occurrence is at times optional, i.e., mismo functions as a reflexive intensifier as found in many other languages (König and Gast, Linguistic Typology 10: 223–276, 2006), and at times puzzlingly obligatory. This makes the collocations a complex phenomenon that has not yet been properly addressed in a comprehensive way. In this paper, I claim that the structures instantiate two independent pronominal constructions, which following the typology of reflexives in Haiman (Language 39: 781–819, 1983), I call the “light reflexive” [prep sí] and the “heavy reflexive” [prep sí mismo]. Basing my analysis on a study of 3,000 natural examples from the CREA (Corpus de referencia del español actual ‘Reference corpus of current Spanish’), I show that the two structures at times compete within the same grammatical frame, but most of the times, they mutually exclude each other: the light reflexive occurs mostly in frames bearing middle voice semantics, while the heavy reflexive serves as the most natural exponence of typical reflexive situations.
©Walter de Gruyter