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INFOLING  August 1999

INFOLING August 1999

Subject:

Reseña de Gutiérrez-Rexach, J.; Martínez-Gil, F., eds. 1999. Advances in Hispanic Linguistics. Papers from the Second Hispanic Linguistics Symposium.

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Carlos Subirats Rüggeberg <[log in to unmask]>

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INFOLING Lista moderada de lingüística española
http://listserv.rediris.es/archives/infoling.html
Estudios de Lingüística Española: http://elies.rediris.es/
Envío de información: [log in to unmask]
Editor: Carlos Subirats Rüggeberg <[log in to unmask]>
Colaboradoras:
Paola Bentivoglio <[log in to unmask]>, U. Central Venezuela
Mar Cruz <[log in to unmask]>, U. Barcelona
Eulalia de Bobes <[log in to unmask]>, U. Autónoma Barcelona
Emma Martinell <[log in to unmask]>, U. Barcelona
Rosa Ribas <[log in to unmask]>, U. Frankfurt
____________________________________________________________

    Reseña de Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach y Fernando Martínez-Gil
(eds.). Advances in Hispanic Linguistics. Papers from the Second
Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, 2 vols. Somerville: Cascadilla
Press, 1999. (xiv + 578 pages. $40.00 US)
               De: Jan Schroten, Utrecht University
            Correo electrónico: [log in to unmask]
 Distribuido por The LINGUIST List, Vol-10-1186, Wed Aug 11 1999;
            ISSN: 1068-4875, http://linguistlist.org/
____________________________________________________________

    The Symposium at which these papers were presented was held
at Ohio State University in Columbus in October, 1998:
http://listserv.rediris.es/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9808&L=infoling&P=R1777
The papers reflect research activities in many areas of hispanic
linguistics, and are grouped in three broad fields:
Psycholinguistics and Sociolinguistics; Phonology, Morphology
and Historical Linguistics; Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics.
In this review, I will group contributions in the same area
together, trying to characterize the main issues that have been
discussed, and identifying them by mentioning the author(s).

    The only study on language acquisition by native speakers of
Spanish is done by Alfonso Morales. He tries to account for the
fact that in the early, one-word stage, children refer to
[sopa] (soup) by saying [fopa] or [pota]. Optimality Theory
provides the means to express "optimal" early words: disyllabic;
first-syllable onset: labial; second-syllable onset: coronal or
labial.

    Studies on general aspects of L2 language acquisition are
presented by James F. Lee and by Ronald P. Leow According to
Lee, L2 learners try to understand foreign language sentences by
"making meaning" (comprehension) or by "making form-meaning
connections" (input processing). L2 learners of Spanish are
given two kinds of texts: one in which temporal reference is
given by tense forms only, which requires form-meaning
connection, and a parallel text in which adverbs support the
temporal meaning of the verb ending, permitting comprehension
without form-meaning connection. This exploratory study on a
small number of students concludes that "learner's attempts to
manage their comprehension has the less than desirable effect
of dislocating from their attention key aspects of the input". A
different route is taken by Leow, who claims that attention
consists of three aspects: alertness, orientation, and
detection. The general question is whether attention, if it is
important for learning, implies conscious attention, which would
suggest the importance of a renewed role of grammar in the L2
curriculum. A number of SLA studies is subjected to
investigation: is attention given sufficient attention?
Many studies show nonconsistency errors, since they do not give
sufficient attention to the operationalization of "attention".

    Specific details of the Spanish that L2 learners acquire are
discussed in some other papers. Marisol Fernández-García tries
to account for errors in gender agreement. This small-scale
study on a few L2 learners of Spanish sugggets that errors are
not random: the default gender is usually masculine, nouns
ending in -o are usually masculine, and nouns ending in -a are
usually feminine. If a noun is taken to be masculine, it tends
to take the masculine ending -o, as in /los corridos/ for /las
corridas/.

    Form-meaning interaction of (natural) gender is addressed by
Rafael A. Núñez Cedeño, who studies the effects of the masculine
pronoun /el/. Does the masculine pronoun convey a meaning of
maleness? He replicates a study done on native speakers of
English, where no noticeable effect of this kind has been
found. His finding are the same for native speakers of Spanish.

    A number of papers treat sociolinguistic issues. The use of
the polite form of address /usted/ and the non-polite form /tu/
in five Latin American cities is studied by Diane Ringer Uber.
She concludes that power and solidarity dictate the choice:
powerful /usted/ and solidary /tu/ are found in these five big
cities. No clear indication is given of differences in the
amount of power or solidarity and the use of /usted/ or /tu/ in
these cities, although a number of observations can be found on
this aspect.

    The use of /nomas/ (even, just) by Spanish-speaking citizens
of San Antonio, Texas, is studied by MaryEllen Garcia. The use
of this common Latin American adverb seems to be spreading among
the young, less fluent speakers of Spanish in San Antonio. The
discussion of the history and of the sociolinguistic pattern in
San Antonio is somewhat inconclusive.

    Semantic and syntactic aspects of the comparable adverb
/solo/ (only) are discussed by Steven Lee Hartman. It is a
"diminisher" (with the interpretation: merely) or a "focuser"
(with the meaning: exclusively), in his analysis. Hartman
observes that the adverb seems to have been fronted, that is,
its domain is at some distance to the right. The interesting
data are not followed by an attempt at characterizing the
syntactic position and the semantic interpretation of /solo/.

    The second series of papers are on phonology, morphology,
and historical linguistics. The phonology papers are generally
couched in the framework of Optimality Theory (OT). The
phonological articles will be characterized first. John M.
Lipski analyzes weak /s/ in Spanish. A well-known fact is the
weakening of syllable-final /s/ (/s/ is pronounced as [h] or is
silent) in many variants of Spanish. Certain details suggest
that syllabification and weakening of /s/ require a specific
order: first syllabification, then weakening. In some
syllable-final /s/ weakening dialects, syllable-initial /s/ is
weakened as well, a surprising phenomenon which can be stated by
a different sequence of processes. In technical terms,
"rightward misalignment" gives way to "leftward misalignment".

    Kenneth J. Wireback studies /n/ velarization in Cuban
Spanish. The amount of velarization of word-internal
syllable-final /n/ in different kinds of broadcast has been
studied. Word-final /n/ velarization, which is a common
phenomenon in Cuba, is variable, probably due to
stigmatization. Syllable-final word-internal velarization before
a consonant is found more in the news broadcasts, which are more
formal, than in the sports broadcasts, which are less formal.
Due to stigmatization, word-final velarization of /n/ is found
less in the more formal style. This curious difference is
discussed, and a possible way of accounting for this difference
is stated.

    A lexicon-based treament of "high vowel + vowel" sequences
is proposed by Sonia Colina and by Jose Ignacio Hualde. Colina
observes that /pie/ (foot) is always pronounced as [pje], with a
rising diphtong, whereas /pi-e/ (I chirped) can be pronounced
with hiatus as [pi.e]. Her main claim is given in Optimality
Theory as a principle of "Identity Constraint". This principle
requires or prefers phonetic similarity between formally and
semantically related words: the verb /piar/ (to chirp) has
several forms with stressed /i/ such as /pi-a/ (he/it chirps).
Stressed [i] cannot be part of a diphtong which is why /pi.e/ (I
chirped), which is clearly related, can be pronounced the same
way. Looking at it from the other side, if diphtongization is
obligatory, there is no related word which triggers hiatus. The
same claim is made by Hualde, and is studied as part of a more
general claim, which is that there are no underlying abstract
representations: these are unwanted artifacts of generative
phonology. Instead, regular and irregular patterns must be
handled in the lexicon. The hiatus cases do not have any
phonological or morphological characteristic in common; only the
lexical property of having a related lexical items with a
similar form and meaning turns out to be decisive.

    A curious paper has been delivered by Eduardo Pinneros, on
two variants of the language game "jerigonza". In variant A,
each syllable is followed by another C{onsonant) V(owel)
syllable; in variant B, each syllable is preceded by a
CV-syllable. The properties of the inserted C and V are stated
as Optimality Theory processes.

    Other phonetic studies have been undertaken by Robert
Hammond, on the status of /"double" r/, and by Holly J. Nibert,
on "intermediate phrasing". Hammond tries to show, by the
auditory analysis of recorded speech of over 200 subjects and by
study of a few sound spectographs, that the prescribed "double"
/r/ pronunciation is not found in the speech of the great
majority of Spanish speaking people. It is unclear whether the
claim is that the "double /r/" phoneme has sibilant or uvular or
some other pronunciation, contrasting with /r/, or whether the
claim is that there is no contrast whatsoever between double and
single /r/ in intervocalic word-internal position. It is
suggested that the latter statement is valid for many speakers
of Spanish.

    Holly J. Nibert analyzes the intonation of ambiguous
sequences like /lilas y lirios amarillos/ (lilies and irises
yellow), where the color can be attributed to both lilies and
irises or to irises only. The conclusion of this carefully
described series of tests and the analysis of the results is
that the intonation can, and often does, reduce ambiguity.

    Studies on historical Spanish linguistics are presented by
Ray Harris-Northall, by Eric Holt, and by Thomas J. Walsh, on
different topics.

    Harris-Northall offers a thoughtful study of medieval
language policy. Contrary to general belief among hispanists, he
shows that Alfons X "el Sabio" was not the language policy
maker, imposing the use of Spanish and dignifying it. Long
before his time, Latin had a much more limited role than is
usually thought and Spanish was advancing in the laws and other
official documents. Even more, much Latin was formulaic, used in
the beginning and at the end of the documents; it is
interspersed with Castilian stretches of text containing and
expressing the real message. A study of historic phonology is
presented by Eric D. Holt, who proposes to treat two kinds of
Latin -Spanish sound changes as the effects of one single
process, linked to the loss of long/short vowel distinction. The
quantitative long/short vowel distinction gives way to a
qualitative high/low distinction. The qualitative distinction
between double obstruents and single obstruents changes into a
qualitative voiceless/voiced distinction. Dissimilar obstruents
like /-kt-/ can be treated in a similar way, by assuming that
obstruence gives way to continuance: /-jt-/. Thus, seemingly
dissimilar historical changes would coincide in a change from
quantitative in qualitative distinctions.

    Thomas J. Walsh gives evidence that the origin of the
Spanish verb /atinar/ (to hit the mark) is Latin addivinare/ (to
guess), by taking a closer look at the meanings that are found
in history and the phonological rules which produced this form
to support his claim.

    A study of historical ideas on language is published by
Frank Nuessel, who takes a look at the metalinguistic statements
in Cervantes' Don Quijote. His conclusion is that the
observations found in this book are "in many ways, insightful,
astute, and perceptive from the point of view of late twentieth
century linguistic theory and analysis", without specifying the
linguistic theory and analysis he has in mind.

    In the third section, on syntax, semantics, and pragmatics,
a comparable topic is treated by Marta Lujan, in her study on
"Minimalist Bello". Andres Bello's famous grammar of 1847 is
claimed to contain a number of "minimalist" concepts and
analyses. The author wonders why Bello's structural notions have
not been incorporated in the recent tradition of generative
studies in Spanish grammar. The question is curious: Bello's
grammar is well-known, but it can hardly be used as a first step
in minimalist theory or as a starting point for any modern
analysis.

    Technical generative studies are presented by Raul
Aranovich, by Alfredo Arnaiz and José Camacho, by Héctor Campos
and by Eugenia Casielles-Suárez.

    Aranovich discusses the case of the causative/non-reflexive
inchoative verbs like /arrancar/ (to start (eg a car)). Usually,
the inchoative variant of the causative verb is reflexive in
Spanish, as in causative /romper/ (to break) and inchoative
/romperse/ (to break). If there is a nonreflexive inchoative
variant, the author claims that the reflexive variant is blocked
in the lexicon. If follows that the reflexive variant is created
by a lexical rule, and not by a syntactic rule.

    In Arnaiz and Camacho's study on the "auxiliary" use of /ir
a/ (lit.:to go to; meaning: unexpectedly), as in /Ramon fue y se
cayo/ (R. went and fell = R. unexpectedly fell), it is shown
that the "auxiliary" use of /ir y/ has a number of typical
properties, which are discussed and given formal analysis.

    In Campos' study, a comparison is made between English and
Spanish, on the basis of CP-absorption or IP-absorption
phenomena. English and Spanish turn out to be IP-absorption
languages, permitting multiple specifiers of IP. Only the clitic
doubling phenomenon of Spanish suggests a multiple CP-specifier.
The facts on clitic doubling that Campos adduces are analyzed
as supporting Rizzi's "Fine Left Periphery" hypothesis, that
there are Topic and Focus phrases between CP and IP.

    The Topic-Focus articulation is taken up again by
Casielles-Suárez, who studies TFA (Topic-Focus Articulation).
She discusses the characterizations of Topic and Focus, giving
English and Spanish examples, and trying to propose a more
articulated TFA. No real conclusion follows from the attempts at
coming to grips with what might be diferent kinds of topic and
different kinds of focus.

    Sarah Harmon and Almerindo Ojeda show that the "neutro de
materia", a special pronoun to refer to mass nouns or a special
article used with mass nouns, is found in a popular 16th century
agricultural treatise. They show that various classes of mass
nouns are found in this treatise and that the special formal
properties had a much wider diffusion, not exclusively in
Asturias but also in other regions, than is commonly believed
to be or to have been the case.

    In a careful study of the composite negative conjunction /ni
... ni/, Elena Herburger discusses its ambiguity: it can be
interpreted as a conjunction of two negative constituents
(negative conjunction) or a disjunction which forms its negative
polarity counterpart, or it is ambiguous: both interpretations
are available. She tries to show that it is basically ambiguous.

    Paula Kempchinsky treats binding in PPs and the much
discussed nature of condition B. The distinguishing property of
Spanish is that a number of verbs select PPs which can contain
pronouns which are bound by the subject, as in: /Adriana piensa
en ella/ (A. thinks of her: A.=her). The author argues that
aspectual and Case-marking properties are relevant, and are
different in English and Spanish, and determine the domain in
which condition B is relevant.

    Luis López discusses the syntax of contrastive focus in
Spanish and English. A number of proposals are briefly discussed
and rejected. A number of questions are posed which do not find
clear answers in his discussion.

    Enrique Mallen discusses constructions which he analyzes as
cases of predicate inversion. One type is represented by /Les
han entrado varios turistas desnudos en la tienda/ (them have
entered several tourists naked in the store = They had several
tourists enter naked in the store), in which the clitic /les/ is
analyzed as the head of a "small clause" involving [varios
turistas desnudos en la tienda] (several tourists naked in the
store). Many other difficult constructions are taken into
account, and various properties of the putative predicate
inversion constructions are given. Although interesting, a lot
of problems have found a rather artificial solution.

    Juan Martín discusses accusative /a/, claiming that
a-marking is an instance of quirky or lexical case-assignment.
Two recent studies on accusative /a/, Torrego; Bruge and
Brugger, are mentioned, but hardly discussed. This contribution
is chaotic: many important studies are mentioned, but they are
not discussed adequately, and important points of discussion are
not taken into account. It is unclear how "lexical case"
could solve the problems that exist or that are believed to
exist by the author.

    Errapel Mejias-Bikandi studies prenominal adjectives,
wh-extraction and generalized quantifiers. Attention is given to
the difference between prenominal adjectives, as in /famosos
escritores/ (famous writers) and postnominal adjetives, as in
/escritores famosos/ (writers famous). Prenominal adjectives are
claimed to have properties in common with quantifiers. This can
be accounted for by taking them to be in determiner position.

    Francisco Ordóñez discusses Focus and subject inversion in
Spanish, Catalan, Italian and French. Following Kayne’s
proposals, he claims that focused constitutents raise to
FocusPhrase, which triggers movement of the remnant VP to a
higher position, in order to check a verbal featue of
FocusPhrase. A number of problematic phenomena are treated. What
remains unclear is why many comparative observations are made
without a clear characterization of the language differences.

    Claudia Parodi discusses the agreement system of Los
Angeles Spanish (LAS) vernacular, where pronominal subjects are
not dropped, possessive constituents are duplicated by
possessive pronouns and the direct object is doubled by a clitic
in more contexts than in Standard Spanish. A Minimalist
approach, in which standard Spanish "weak" features are changing
in LAS "strong features" has been adopted. It is unclear why
gender shift in /problema/ (problem), from masculine to
feminine, due to the final -a which typically characterizes
feminine nouns, and the use of /la/ to refer to it, is taken to
be "lack of agreement", and not "change of gender" by a
regularization of the morpholexical pattern.

    Liliana Sánchez describes the pronominal system of speakers
of Andean Spanish. The characteristics are: underspecification
of gender and number features, doubling of quantified objects
(impossible in standard Spanish, and most of its variants), and
the use of null objects. The phenomena are interpreted as the
results of a reinterpretation of properties of D(eterminer) and
AgrO position by Spanish/Quechua bilinguals.

    Scott A. Schwenter analyzes the scalar particles /incluso/
(even) and /hasta/ (even) in Spanish, and their quantificational
and informational properties.

    Finally, Luis Silva-Villar discusses the history of the
locative inversion construction /ula minna carteira?/ (where is
my wallet?) in Galegan, with the inflected locative /ula/
(where: feminine), and without any verb. He discusses the
lexical and syntactic character of this construction, which is
found in a number of dialects since many centuries ago.

    To conclude, the two volumes of these proceedings contain a
number of interesting studies in different areas which I have
tried to sketch. A considerable number of high-quality
contributions will be found, and a small number of modest or
weak contributions.

                                           Jan Schroten

    Informaciones aparecidas en Infoling relacionadas con Javier
Gutiérrez-Rexach y Fernando Martínez-Gil, eds. 1999. 'Advances
in Hispanic Linguistics: Papers from the 2nd Hispanic
Linguistics Symposium':

    - Reseña de David Eddington:
http://listserv.rediris.es/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9906&L=infoling&P=R1628

    - Información bibliográfica:
http://listserv.rediris.es/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9905&L=infoling&P=R556

    - Información sobre el Segundo Simposio de Lingüística
Hispánica:
http://listserv.rediris.es/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9808&L=infoling&P=R1777

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