Volume 10, Issue 5
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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This paper focuses on Spanish grammatical mood variation in Comment Clauses (e.g., (subjunctive) / (indicative) ‘it’s better you not go’) in the speech of two generations in New York City. The data come from 36 participants, 18 from each of two generational cohorts. Carried out within the variationist-sociolinguistic research paradigm, we test grammatical mood against eight variables, four external (generation, region, speaker sex, language skill) and four internal (grammatical tense, clause type, lexical identity, negation). Statistical findings reveal that generation significantly conditions subjunctive use (the first generation has a significantly higher rate of use of subjunctive forms than does the second generation); English skill conditions first-generation subjunctive use (those with ‘good or excellent’ English skills have a higher subjunctive rate than those with ‘fair or poor’ English skills); clause type conditions both generations’ subjunctive use (impersonal constructions yield a higher subjunctive rate than personal constructions); lexical identity and negation in the matrix clause both condition first-generation use of mood ( ‘to like’ favors the indicative; ‘to be important’ and + impersonal expression ‘to be’ both favor the subjunctive). Generational differences are thus observed with respect to both social and linguistic conditioning factors.


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