This paper brings a new perspective to understanding subject expression in Spanish by focusing on third person (singular and plural) referents in Spanish, with particular emphasis on full NPs as subjects. Using data from a corpus of New Mexican Spanish, multivariate analysis reveals that full NPs as subjects have discourse functions beyond introducing new information into the discourse. The data indicate that there are two types of repetition effects, in which the same full NP occurs in two sequential clauses. Additional patterns of NP expression include a difference between general and specific referents, the relationship between semantic class of verb and likelihood of expression via a full NP, and differences between singular and plural referents. These findings indicate that theories of information flow alone are not sufficient to account for all the uses of full NPs as subjects, and they provide insight into both the pragmatic and the interactional effects on language patterns and the organization of grammar.
Selected Proceedings of the 9th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Nuria Sagarra and Almeida Jacqueline Toribio
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