Homogeneous and heterogeneous referentiality in Spanish personal pronouns

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dc.contributor.author Pineros, Carlos en
dc.coverage.spatial Adelaide, Australia en
dc.date.accessioned 2019-02-28T00:05:31Z en
dc.date.issued 2018-12-11 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45606 en
dc.description.abstract This study draws on the Spanish pronominal system to shed light on the relationship between the grammatical categories of person and number. The focus is on pronoun referentiality. It has been observed that pluralization affects the referentiality of Spanish personal pronouns to various extents (Hernández Alonso 1975, 1984, 2000). The examples in (1-3) illustrate this phenomenon. Those in (1a-b) compare the referentiality of yo ‘I’ with that of nosotros ‘we’ to show that, while the singular form refers strictly to [1] (i.e. first person), the plural counterpart has the ability to refer not only to [1] but also to [2] and [3] (i.e. second and third person). To be more precise, nosotros can refer to various participant groups, including [1 1] (= ‘choral’), [1 2] (= ‘inclusive’), [1 3] (= ‘exclusive’), and [1 2 3] (= ‘augmented inclusive’). A similar situation arises in the second person. A comparison between (2a) and (2b) shows that, while tú ‘you’ refers strictly to [2], vosotros ‘you guys’ can refer to [3] as well. It thus has scope over two groups: [2 2] (= ‘only addressed audience’) and [2 3] (= ‘full audience’). In contrast with those scenarios, the referentiality of third person pronouns (e.g. él ‘he’ and ellos ‘they’) is much simpler because, as seen in (3a-b), both the singular and the plural form refer strictly to [3]. (The group [3 3] is simply ‘third person plural’.) The phenomenon in need of explanation is then the following. Why is it that the referentiality of Spanish personal pronouns is broadest for the first person, less so for the second person, and narrowest for the third person? Previous studies have attempted to solve this puzzle, but the solution they propose is unsatisfactory. They defy tradition by claiming that pairs such as yo/nosotros, tú/vosotros, and él/ellos do not consist of a singular and a plural form, which is tantamount to denying that number is the basis for such contrasts. Rabanales (1977), Hernández Alonso (1975, 1984, 2000) and Cysouw (2003) implement this idea by removing [singular] and [plural] from person paradigms and introducing a battery of unorthodox person features instead. The first two studies posit six persons (e.g. [first], [second], [third], [fourth], [fifth], and [sixth]), while the third arrives at an even larger set by retaining the three traditional person values and combining them. This results in ten distinctions: [1], [2], [3], [1 1], [1 2], [1 3], [1 2 3], [2 2], [2 3], and [3 3]. The present study argues that the exclusion of number from person paradigms only serves to conceal the effect that pluralization has on pronoun referentiality. On that approach, the fact that nosotros has many more meanings than vosotros and that the latter has more meanings than ellos remains a mystery. There is no veritable explanation because the person groupings that are used to replace number values are stipulated. We do not know why [1] figures in four groups, [2] in two, and [3] in only one. To make matters worse, morphology and syntax now face problems that did not exist before. The morphological analysis of forms such as nosotro+s, vosotro+s, and ello+s exposes a plural marker at the end of each; yet, if one insisted on depriving pronouns of number features, that element would have no reason to exist. The syntactic issue is that pronouns would not be expected to partake in number agreement; yet, there is indisputable evidence that they do. Observe, for instance, that all words forming the sentences in (1a), (2a), and (3a) are singular whereas all those forming the sentences in (1b), (2b), and (3b) are plural. Clearly, the view that number is absent from Spanish personal pronouns creates more problems than it solves. The proposed solution is based on the premise that person is a deictic category and that it is universally limited to three values. This is the maximal number of roles that can be derived from the conversational function of address: [1] = addresser, [2] = addressee, and [3] = unaddressed. This limitation notwithstanding, person paradigms tend to consist of more than three forms because additional categories (e.g. number, gender, respect, clusivity, etc.) crosscut person. In languages employing the basic number contrast (i.e. [singular] vs. [plural]), the combination of [plural] with [1], [2], and [3] impinges on pronoun referentiality because pluralization requires combining each person value with at least another one. The crucial finding is that deixis determines the order in which these combinations proceed. The addresser being the deictic centre takes precedence over the other participants; it combines with itself first, then with the addressee, and lastly with the unaddressed to yield [1 1], [1 2], [1 3], and [1 2 3]. Next in priority is the addressee, which combines with itself and with the unaddressed to produce [2 2] and [2 3]. By the time the turn comes to the unaddressed, the only option left is for it to combine with itself: [3 3]. en
dc.relation.ispartof Australian Linguistic Society Annual Conference en
dc.relation.ispartof Australian Linguistic Society Annual Conference en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title Homogeneous and heterogeneous referentiality in Spanish personal pronouns en
dc.type Presentation en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.author-url https://als.asn.au/Conference/Conference-2018/Conference-2018 en
pubs.finish-date 2018-12-12 en
pubs.start-date 2018-12-10 en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/OpenAccess en
pubs.subtype Conference Oral Presentation en
pubs.elements-id 761142 en
pubs.org-id Arts en
pubs.org-id Cultures, Languages & Linguist en
pubs.org-id European Lang and Literature en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2019-02-09 en


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