Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1571-0718
  • E-ISSN: 1571-0726
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Based on 2,685 instances of verbs inflected for first-person singular (1sg) drawn from 14th–16th century Spanish texts, the current study offers two main findings on the diachrony of variable subject expression. The results indicate that, in general, the linguistic conditioning of 1sg subject pronoun expression () remains constant throughout the centuries, following the patterns reported for present-day Spanish. We observe an effect of switch reference and of distance between coreferential subjects favoring expression. Additionally found is coreferential subject priming, such that the form of a previous coreferential subject significantly influences subsequent coreferential mentions. Finally, tense-aspect-mood is significant, though both the imperfect and future tenses favor expression. Nevertheless, verb semantic class does not influence these data. In particular, the +cognition verb construction, especially the highly frequent , which leads the cognition-verb category nowadays, is absent here. The study thus both offers evidence of continuity and suggests possible language change.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): diachrony; subject expression; variation
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