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Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Face, Timothy L.

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The Functions of Postverbal Pronominal Subjects in Spoken Peninsular Spanish and European Portuguese

Pekka Posio
Published Online: 2015-03-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/shll-2012-1122


Although both constituent order and variation in the expression of pronominal subjects are well-established research topics in Hispanic and Lusophone linguistics, the placement of pronominal subjects has received relatively little attention in previous research. The goal of the present study is to fill this gap by examining postverbal pronominal subjects in spoken Peninsular Spanish and European Portuguese using data from the Corpus del Español and Corpus do Português, taking into account such factors as verb semantics and transitivity. It is shown that the factors affecting the placement of pronominal subjects differ from those related to nominal subjects, as pronouns typically represent old information in discourse. Pronominal subjects are relatively uncommon in the postverbal position in both languages, but especially in European Portuguese where they appear mostly in grammaticalized constructions (e.g. quotatives). The postverbal placement of pronominal subjects is often related to non-topical status of the subject and serves a backgrounding function in discourse. It is most frequently associated with twoargument verbs characterized by low transitivity.

About the article

Published Online: 2015-03-20

Published in Print: 2012-03-01

Citation Information: Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 149–190, ISSN (Online) 2199-3386, ISSN (Print) 1939-0238, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/shll-2012-1122.

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