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Bookmark and Share Paper 1015

Me Salí a Caminar: Pronominal Constructions with Intransitive Motion Verbs in Northern New Mexican Spanish
Jessi Elana Aaron
123-133 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Using a variationist approach, this paper challenges the traditional interpretations of the occurrence of the "reflexive" clitic with verbs of motion in Spanish. By looking at the use of bajar(se), subir(se), caer(se), ir(se), quedar(se), regresar(se), salir(se) and venir(se) in the bilingual neighborhood of Barelas in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, the hypothesis that the clitic indicates an "energetic construction" is tested. This paper will focus on two verbs in particular: ir(se) and salir(se). With ir(se), a focus on departure does favor the occurrence of the clitic, the study does not find that irse necessarily indicates 'leaving' as has been proposed in traditional grammars, but rather that it may also be used in situations in which ir would be expected. This suggests that the prevalence of irse represents an ongoing process of the grammaticalization of this relatively frequent form, which is believed to be undergoing bleaching and semantic extension. With salir(se), the clitic does occur in situations in which the subject leaves an organization (as has been the traditional interpretation), but it is not limited to this context: salirse also occurs in a social "force dynamic" in which the subject's actions and social norms are in conflict. Generally, the data do support an energetic construction hypothesis, and in doing so reject more traditional interpretations of these constructions, since for all verbs but quedar(se), the clitic is more likely to occur in undesired or (either physically or socially) unexpected situations. Language contact does not seem to be a motivating factor for such occurrence; instead, variable rule analysis indicates that parallel processing and the pragmatic weight of the event within the discourse influence the occurrence of the clitic.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the First Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Lotfi Sayahi
Table of contents
Printed edition: $180.00