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ERIC Number: ED522387
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 217
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-3542-1
Differential Object Marking in Spanish: A Quantitative Variationist Study
Tippets, Ian Robert
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ohio State University
This dissertation addresses the variable nature of the linguistic phenomenon known as Differential Object Marking (DOM) as it is manifested in Spanish. More commonly known in the literature as the personal "a" or the accusative "a", this phenomenon has been attributed primarily to marking animate, predominantly human, direct objects. However, this marking is considerably more variable when observed in actual usage, permitting the marking of non-human referents as well as not always occurring with human referents. This variation in marking is a prime candidate for variationist methodologies and the present dissertation quantifies the distribution of DOM in the spoken language of three dialects of Spanish in order to realize a multivariate analysis. The data is culled from three transcribed corpora, one from Buenos Aires, one from Madrid and one from Mexico City. To evaluate what factors are relevant in these dialects as well as to provide a general model of how the "a"-marking phenomenon works broadly, the multivariate statistical program Goldvarb is used to assess the data. The principal findings of the dissertation include identifying a unifying concept, individuation, which is able to account for significant components of the data. The individuating factors found to be primarily responsible in accounting for observed variation in "a"-marking include animacy, definiteness, specificity and number. Additionally, the relationship between "a"-marking and topicality is explored more fully as a result of implementing particular quantifiable metrics. It is shown that marking correlates with a relative notion of topicality wherein those objects which are frequent and have proximal coreferential expressions are more likely to be marked. Finally, dialectal distinctions are found when comparing the factors found to be significant in each dialect. The empirical data obtained through this quantitative approach to "a"-marking provide concrete evidence to show how Spanish Differential Object Marking is motivated by multiple factors. 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:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Argentina (Buenos Aires); Mexico (Mexico City); Spain (Madrid)