In almost completely separate lines of research, investigators have uncovered significant patterns of null direct object usage in South American dialects of Spanish and Portuguese. In this paper, these distinct strands of research are united to bring to light some striking similarities in direct object coding among different varieties of these two languages. An analysis of semantic and discourse-pragmatic factors reveals that similar factors influence both null vs. overt direct object coding, on the one hand, and differential object marking, on the other, and demonstrates the value of a cross-linguistic (and cross-dialectal) perspective on the phenomenon of null objects in South America.
Selected Proceedings of the 8th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Timothy L. Face and Carol A. Klee
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