Chapter published in:Variation and Evolution: Aspects of language contact and contrast across the Spanish-speaking world
Edited by Sandro Sessarego, Juan J. Colomina-Almiñana and Adrián Rodríguez-Riccelli
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 29] 2020
► pp. 12–31
Cross-dialectal productivity of the Spanish subjunctive in nominal clause complements
We performed a large-scale corpus study of the subjunctive across Argentine, Mexican, and Peninsular Spanish, in order to determine possible differences in productivity across dialects. Our data (N = 6,822) from the web/dialects section of Davies’ (2016–) Corpus del Español were collected through random sampling of 22 matrix verb governors. All three dialects were significantly different from one another in type:token ratio, whereas only Spain differed from the others in terms of hapax legomena:type ratio. Furthermore, only eight verbs showed the same behavior across all dialects. Subjunctive productivity thus varies by both dialect and governor, thereby revealing the critical importance of both inter- and intra-dialectal variation for the correct analysis of morphosyntactic phenomena. The conditioning of the variation across dialects, nevertheless, was similar: mixed-effects logistic regression in R revealed that negated governors and cases of non-coreferentiality between main and subordinate clause subjects select significantly more subjunctive.
Keywords: subjunctive, nominal clauses, productivity, type:token ratio, variation
Published online: 11 August 2020
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