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Title: Spanish Clitic Doubling: A Study of the Syntax-Pragmatics Interface
Authors: Belloro, Valeria A.
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Romance Languages
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: State University of New York at Buffalo
Abstract: This dissertation is a study of the interpretive effects of so-called “clitic doubling” constructions in Spanish. Clitic doubling constructions are those in which a weak pronoun, cliticized to the verb, co-occurs in the clause with a nominal phrase coreferential with it, as illustrated in (0). (0) a. La invité a Mabel. ACC.3FS invited.1S ANIM Mabel ‘I invited Mabel.’ b. Le di un regalo a Mabel. DAT.3S gave.1S a gift DAT Mabel. ‘I gave a gift to Mabel.’ In recent decades there have been many studies which propose grammatical analyses of these structures. These studies are for the most part based on examples constructed ad hoc and, as it will be shown, cannot adequately account for the empirical data presented here. On the other hand, corpus-based accounts of the “clitic doubling” phenomenon are scarce and advance seemingly contradictory conclusions, some linking doubling with the participants’ topicality, and others with the participants’ newness. In this dissertation it is argued that Spanish clitic doubling constructions are dependent on the particular cognitive accessibility of the target referent. Specifically, that clitic doubling structures mark the deviation of the target referent from its expected accessibility level given the case-role chosen to encode it. This claim is supported by the analysis of a corpus of spontaneous interactions among native speakers of a prototypical “doubling dialect” (Buenos Aires Spanish), and formalized using the tools of Role and Reference Grammar.
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