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Berenice Darwich: "Continuity and discontinuity in syntactic patterns in New York City. A look at co-referential complex sentences"

January 13, 2014 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm  |  Humanities 1, Room 202


BDarwich-picture-UCSCSpeaker: Berenice Darwich, Hispanic Linguistics, CUNY Colleges; New York, New York.
The variable phenomenon of subject expression, specifically in the second clause of co-referential complex sentences, is analyzed in a subset of interviews of Mexican and Dominican Spanish speakers from the Otheguy and Zentella corpus of Spanish in New York City.

By taking into account the generation of speakers (first and second) and the syntactic hierarchy of the second clause (main or subordinate), the study will address the following questions:

Is there pattern continuity in regards to subject expression in contexts of co-reference among generation of speakers?
Is there an influence of English in regards to this pattern in second generation speakers?
Is there a correlation between subject expression and the syntactic hierarchy of a clause across geographical varieties?

The hypothesis that guides this investigation is that in this context, subject pronoun expression in the second clause is an instrument to signal the principal information of a message, carried in the main clause of a complex sentence.

Results confirm previous studies regarding this variable phenomenon in Spanish in general and in New York City: Dominican Spanish speakers favor pronoun subject expression more than Mexican Spanish speakers, even in the second clause of co-referential complex sentences. When we look at the frequencies by each geographical variety in this very specific context, the distributional differences allow a classification of the varieties in two different groups (Mexican pattern and Dominican pattern). But this trend does not hold when the generational group is considered, showing a reverse pattern in the second generation Dominican speakers.

These findings confirm partially the hypothesis since it is only the first generation Dominicans who do not use subject pronoun expression as a mean to signal hierarchical syntactic information.


January 13, 2014
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm