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Optional agreement and grammatical functions: a corpus study of dative clitic doubling in Spanish

Aranovich, Roberto (2012) Optional agreement and grammatical functions: a corpus study of dative clitic doubling in Spanish. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Spanish ditransitive constructions are characterized by the optionality of dative clitic doubling (DCLD), the co- occurrence of an unstressed dative pronoun with a co-referential indirect object (IO).
This fact has not received a satisfactory account in the literature, which has largely overlooked the optionality of the phenomenon or tried to reduce it to syntactic or lexical considerations (Strozer, 1976; Demonte, 1995). Our goal is to describe and explain the distribution of Dative Clitic Doubling in ditransitive sentences, as well as to study the implications of this phenomenon to the overall grammar of Spanish, in particular its interaction with word order.
We argue that the optionality of DCLD is an instance of optional object agreement, a widespread phenomenon in the languages of the world (Comrie, 1989; Woolford, 1999), which is favored by the pragmatic salience of the IO (high degree of animacy and givenness). We also argue that the distribution of DCLD is independent of word order, a claim that follows from the fact that Spanish encodes grammatical functions through agreement rather than word order. We support our claims with the results of a quantitative study of ditransitive sentences.
The study of Spanish ditransitive constructions is complemented by a quantitative study of another dative construction in Spanish, the possessive construction. The conclusion of this comparison is that dative case is favored by pragmatic prominence across different construction types.
From a cross-linguistic perspective, the dissertation compares Spanish DCLD and English dative-shift, two constructions that have been considered analogous in the literature (Demonte, 1995). In this respect, our conclusion is that the two constructions are essentially different as a result of an important typological difference between Spanish and English: Spanish is a Direct/Indirect Object language and English is a Primary/Secondary Object language (Dryer, 1986; Raúl Aranovich, 2007).


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLevin,
Committee CoChairJuffs, Alanjuffs@pitt.eduJUFFS
Committee MemberShirai,
Committee MemberErin, O'
Committee MemberRoberto, Mayoral Herná
Date: 31 January 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 February 2011
Approval Date: 31 January 2012
Submission Date: 1 November 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 230
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Spanish, dative, agreement, case, word order, corpus linguistics
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2012 14:25
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:35


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