The Spanish impersonal <i>se</i>-construction

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According to the new edition of the Spanish Academy Grammar (Bosque 2009: 1220ff,2665), it remains unexplained why the clitic object in the Spanish impersonal transitive <i>se</i>-construction tends to be in dative (<i>le</i>): <i>se</i> le <i>ve</i> &#8216;you can see him&#8217;. The aim of this paper is to analyze this usage quantitatively, with focus on its constructional motivation. To achieve solid empirical evidence, I extracted large amounts of data from Corpus del Espa&#241;ol (20.4 mill. words) and analyzed the data statistically. I found that the constructional motivation for the dative is substantial and that it is due to characteristics of the specific impersonal <i>se</i>-construction.


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