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ERIC Number: ED515786
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 214
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-7111-7
Spanish Subject Personal Pronoun Use by Monolinguals, Bilinguals and Second Language Learners
Abreu, Laurel
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida
Various studies analyzing pronominal subject expression in Spanish have found that switch-reference, the relationship between two consecutive subjects, is the factor that most commonly constrains speakers' choice of a null or explicit subject personal pronoun (SPP) (Cameron, 1995; Flores-Ferran, 2002). When the second subject in a sequence differs from the first, speakers tend to express the second subject overtly: (1) "Este hombre nunca me ha visto" con coraje a mi, nunca en mi vida, "yo no se" que es coraje. ""This man has never seen" me angry, never in my life, "I don't know" what anger is." In the example above, taken from the data collected for this study, there is a change in reference from the first subject, "este hombre", to the second, "yo", prompting its expression as an overt pronoun. However, it is obvious, and recent studies have shown, that this factor alone cannot explain all overt uses of the subject pronouns in Spanish, as speakers also use them in contexts where there is no change in referent. (2) Pero se enderezaba asi y decia y "yo lo" escuchaba y "yo empezaba a reirme", yo me iba. "(He) straightened up and said and "I listened" to him and "I started laughing", "I would leave"." In the second example, the first "yo" subject is indeed switch in reference with regard to the two preceding subjects, but the second and third yo subjects are same in reference to the first, and yet they are overtly expressed. Many recent studies have highlighted the role of priming (Cameron & Flores-Ferran, 2004; Travis, 2007), that is to say, the effects of repetition, in pronominal expression, and in fact, the second example demonstrates how the first expression of "yo" leads to its repetition in the second and third "yo" subjects. Though both switch-reference and priming have been found to operate in many different varieties of Spanish, their effects have yet to be fully explored among heritage speakers of Spanish and second language (L2) learners. This is a particularly interesting issue in the case of L2 learners, since previous research has been dominated by the question of whether non-native speakers are able acquire the pronominal constraints of a language whose status with regard to the pro-drop parameter is different from that of their native language (Perez-Leroux & Glass, 1997; Montrul & Rodriguez Louro, 2006, among others). This study examines these factors of switch-reference and priming along with discourse continuity and ambiguity as they operate in the speech of different types of Spanish speakers, with the goal of determining whether they share the same pronominal constraints. The data were collected through sociolinguistic interviews with ten monolingual Spanish speakers from western Puerto Rico; ten bilingual speakers of English and Spanish of Puerto Rican heritage; and ten native speakers of English acquiring Spanish as an L2, who were enrolled in a fourth-year Spanish course at a large public university. From the data, 3,744 tokens were extracted and analyzed quantitatively, using Goldvarb X, a statistical program that carries out variable rule analyses. Results show that switch-reference is indeed a factor that constrains pronominal expression not only for monolingual speakers of Spanish, but also for bilinguals and L2 learners, and that all speakers are subject to some extent to the effects of repetition. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A