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Abstract

Abstract

This paper examines a distinctive syntactic feature of (pre)classical Spanish: asyndetic complementation (without complementizer ‘that’). While many authors regard this construction as a stylistic variant which eventually declined (i.a., ), so far no exhaustive morphosyntactic study of the phenomenon has been presented, as previous works either have focused on only one predicate ( ) or do not contain detailed quantitative data ( ). Using evidence from richly annotated corpus data spanning between 1400 and 1799 ( ), we adopt the diachronic probabilistic grammar framework ( ) by means of multifactorial statistical models, to identify the language-internal probabilistic constraints that regulated the /Ø alternation, and to explore whether their relevance changed diachronically. The results indicate that asyndetic complementation is promoted in the domain of manipulation verbs (e.g., requests and commands) and, more generally, by the semantic and syntactic integration of events ( ). Diachronically we observe that some of the effects strengthened over time, suggesting a syntactic specialization process, which might have eventually led to the restricted and marked use of the asyndeton in Modern Spanish.

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/content/journals/10.1075/jhl.20031.maz
2022-02-08
2022-05-21
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