This paper addresses the absence of inversion in wh-interrogatives in the Caribbean varieties of Spanish, resulting in examples like 'Qué tú quieres?' It is shown that, contrary to what is often assumed, in the Caribbean varieties this is not the unmarked kind of interrogative, and that interrogatives showing inversion (such as those of the standard varieties of Spanish) show a greater frequency of appearance in texts. Based on this observation it is shown that interrogatives without inversion only occur when the subject has the discourse properties of a sentence topic. An analysis is further developed to explain why in the standard varieties of Spanish, absence of inversion is not observed even if the subject is a sentence topic.
Selected Proceedings of the 10th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Joyce Bruhn de Garavito and Elena Valenzuela
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