University of Illinois at Chicago
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Pronoun Categorization: Evidence From Spanish/English Code-switching

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posted on 2014-10-28, 00:00 authored by Bryan Koronkiewicz
The current study investigates the categorization of pronouns. The two prominent pronoun theories, Cardinaletti and Starke (1999) and Déchaine and Wiltschko (2002), directly conflict one other when categorizing pronouns in different languages, including Spanish and English. To investigate in more detail, the current study uses data from intra-sentential code-switching. Two experiments were conducted where Spanish/English bilinguals completed acceptability judgment tasks for code-switched sentences. There is no correlation between the results and the proposal by Déchaine and Wiltschko (2002). The results do, however, provide experimental evidence in support of the typology of pronouns proposed by Cardinaletti and Starke (1999). Their distinction of strong, weak and clitic pronouns correlates directly with the behavior of pronouns in Spanish/English code-switching. Strong pronouns, such as those that are coordinated, modified, prosodically stressed or in a peripheral position, are able to be switched. This is because the structure of strong pronouns, as proposed by the authors, includes a full Determiner Phrase (DP) projection. Weak and clitic pronouns, lacking a full DP, are unacceptable when code-switched with a finite verb. This difference in pronoun type is able to descriptively account for their acceptability in code-switching, a distinction that had not previously been fully accounted for in the code-switching literature. This study also suggests that this distinction between strong pronouns and weak or clitic pronouns might be further explored with a Phase Theory approach to code-switching.



González-Vilbazo, Kay


Hispanic Studies

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Committee Member

Cameron, Richard López, Luis Williams, Jessica den Dikken, Marcel

Submitted date



  • en

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