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Open Access On the Relationship Between Subject Placement and Overt Pronouns in the Spanish of New York City Bilinguals

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On the Relationship Between Subject Placement and Overt Pronouns in the Spanish of New York City Bilinguals

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This paper reports on a variationist sociolinguistic analysis of the relationship between subject placement and overt pronoun rates in the Spanish of first- and second-generation Spanish-English bilinguals in New York City. The data used for the study come from a spoken corpus of Spanish in New York based on 140 sociolinguistic interviews. We show second-generation speakers exhibit a more rigid word order compared to their newly arrived first-generation peers, more often preferring subjects in the preverbal position, and we explain that this increase in word order rigidity among our second-generation can be attributed, in large part, to their increased use of and contact with English. We further posit that the difference in subject placement across generations can be explained by the different context of acquisition since the Spanish that these second-generation speakers are exposed to contains both a higher rate of overt pronouns and a higher rate of preverbal subjects.

Affiliations: 1: City University of New York, rranarisso@gradcenter.cuny.edu ; 2: DePaul University, cbarrer6@depaul.edu

This paper reports on a variationist sociolinguistic analysis of the relationship between subject placement and overt pronoun rates in the Spanish of first- and second-generation Spanish-English bilinguals in New York City. The data used for the study come from a spoken corpus of Spanish in New York based on 140 sociolinguistic interviews. We show second-generation speakers exhibit a more rigid word order compared to their newly arrived first-generation peers, more often preferring subjects in the preverbal position, and we explain that this increase in word order rigidity among our second-generation can be attributed, in large part, to their increased use of and contact with English. We further posit that the difference in subject placement across generations can be explained by the different context of acquisition since the Spanish that these second-generation speakers are exposed to contains both a higher rate of overt pronouns and a higher rate of preverbal subjects.

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/content/journals/10.1163/19552629-01102007
2018-04-12
2018-11-15

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