Review of A Romance Perspective on Language Knowledge and Use
| Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 13:20:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: Hayim Sheynin <email@example.com>
Subject: A Romance Perspective on Language Knowledge and Use
EDITORS: Núñez-Cedeño, Rafael; López, Luis; Cameron, Richard
TITLE: A Romance Perspective on Language Knowledge and Use
SUBTITLE: Selected Papers from the 31st Linguistic Symposium on
Romance Languages (LSRL), Chicago, 19-22 April 2001.
SERIES: Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 238
PUBLISHER: John Benjamins
Hayim Y. Sheynin, Gratz College, Melrose Park, PA.
This is an edited collection of 21 papers which were presented at the
31st Symposium on Romance Languages. The content has been organized
thematically to cover a variety of theoretical issues ranging from
phonology, morphology, and syntax to their contextual use in Romance
linguistics as seen through pragmatics and sociolinguistics.
It is clear from published papers that some discussions on the topics
of the papers were held in the conference and the presenters were asked
many questions, all of which resulted in the incorporation of
additional material as a reaction to these questions and discussions in
the time of preparation the papers for publication.
In the Introduction (pp. vii-xv), the editors give a short
characterization of the papers included and acknowledge help of many
people who assisted both in organization of the Symposium and in
preparation of this volume.
1. ''Pronominal clitics in Picard revisited'' / Julie Auger (pp. 3-20)
In an 1994 LSRL paper, Auger treated Picard (regional language of
northern France) and concluded that subject clitics are affixal
agreement markers (rather than arguments) on the verb. In this paper,
she continues to provide new morphophonological evidence that the weak
subject pronouns in Picard (e.g., j' ''], il 'he') and other
preverbal clitics are affixes rather than syntactic clitics. The paper
provides the summary of the analysis presented in the mentioned 1994
paper and advances a new analysis of behavior of vowel epenthesis
within clitic sequences versus that across word boundaries.
Along the way, Auger examines the feature of vowel epenthesis in Vimeu
Picard (VP). Unlike French of Isle de France, VP has complex rules of
vowel epenthesis when one morpheme may have 3 variants, e.g. d/éd/de
'of', depending on difference of immediately preceding or following
phonemes (vowels, consonants, or double consonants correspondingly).
Some of the clitics consisting of one consonant cannot be realized by
the prosodic structure of Picard, thus causing vowel epenthesis. Auger
establishes the rule for epenthesis across word boundaries and observes
that the behavior of vowel epenthesis within clitic sequences
(particularly, clitic + verb) is similar, but not exactly. Beside the
typical CeC.C pattern, also an additional C.CeC can be found.
Interpreting this difference, Auger lists several hypothetically
possible explanations. These explanations in great measure depend on
particular examples which involve different level of sonority.
Thus in all instances of CeC.C, the second consonant is more sonorous
than the first (see the Sonority Hierarchy proposed by Goldsmith
1990:111), in all C.CeC patterns, the second consonant either less
sonorous than or as sonorous as the first consonant.
Several different approaches of analysis confirm that all VP pronominal
clitics are affixes.
The paper is very thoughtful in that the author at the start proposes
different possibilities in interpretation of a phenomenon, then
analyses each possibility, and by the reasoning rejects one
interpretation after another until only one possible explanation
remains plausible. Auger is equally attentive to phonology, morphology,
and syntax, as well as prosody to find the right answer to the
questions she posited in the beginning of the paper.
2. ''Spanish /s/: A different story from beginning (initial) to end
(final)'' / Esther L. Brown and Rena Torres Cacoullos (pp. 21-38)
This research team investigates the phonological variable /s/ in
Spanish. They take in account a big number of research devoted to /s/
in Peninsular Spanish, Colombia, northern New Mexico, as well as in
Andalusian, Extremeño, South American and Carribbean dialects. For this
study, Brown and Torres Cacoullos analyze data from Ascención,
Chihuahua, in northern Mexico collected in Torres Cacoullos (2000).
They study phonetic reduction (lenition, weakening). The sibilant
realization of /s/ include the voiced allophone [z], the reduced
realization is represented as an aspirated allophone [h] and the
extreme reduction is manifested as a deleted token [Ø].
The authors present statistics of syllable-final /s/ reduction in word-
final and word medial positions. They observe how this phenomenon
differs in high frequency words (most of reduction cases and deleted
tokens) and less frequent words (much lower percentage of reduction
cases). The results of comparison of the presented dialectal material
differ those of previously studied dialects.
Then observations of initial /s/ reduction follow. The authors consider
preceding phonetic environment and its influence on the reduction.
Preceding low and mid vowels are more favorable to aspiration and
deletion than high vowels, though /a/ is ordered above /e/. The
reduction of /s/ is more favored when it follows /o/ and /e/ than when
it follows /a/ or /i/.
The reduction occurs more frequently in unstressed and pre-tonic
syllables, as well as in post-tonic ones. Again higher frequency words
show higher reduction rates than low frequency words (much lower
percentage of reduction cases). As in the first case, the results of
comparison of the presented dialectal material differ those of
previously studied dialects. The researchers note that the Chihuahua
patterns approximate the Greek type of s > h change.
Due to the required brevity of the review, we simplified the process of
this research, as we do in the rest cases. Brown and Torres Cacoullos
consider complex influences of phonological environment, vowel
hierarchy, syllable position, phonotactic sequences, word boundary and
other factors involved into /s/ reduction.
3. ''Consonant intrusion in heterosyllabic consonant-liquid clusters in
Old Spanish and Old French: An Optimality theoretical account'' /
Fernando Martínez-Gil (pp. 39-58)
Martínez-Gil treats a well-known historical change triggered indirectly
by vowel syncope. In the process of consonant epenthesis, an epenthetic
consonant was inserted between two consonants of a heterosyllabic
cluster. The exemplified patterns involve Latin groups /-mV.n-/, /-
mV.r-/ which after the loss of the vowel give in Old Spanish /-m.br-/;
/-mV.l-/ > /-m.bl-/; /-nV.r-/ > /-n.dr-/; /-lV.r-/ > /-l.dr-/; /-dzV.r-
/ > /-dr-/. The changes described are transparent in Old Spanish,
because they are amply attested in spellings like omne, omre, hombre.
The author shows that consonant intrusion was a synchronic phonological
process, and not simply a historical change. As a result of pretonic
syncope in verbal forms of 2nd and 3rd conjugation in future tense and
conditional mode (e.g. comer - Fut. 3 sg. combr-á - Cond. 3 sg. combr-
ía; doler - doldr-á - doldr-ía; remaner - remandr-á - remandr-ía; yazer
- yazdr-á - yazdr-ía; conosçer - cono[st]r-á - cono[st]r-ía.
An additional proof that consonant intrusion was a synchronic
phonological process is exemplified in apocope process /-mV.l-/ >
(-m.l-) > /m.bl-/ as in [ni me la > nimla > nimbla].
An entirely analogous process of consonant intrusion occurs in Old
Lat. cam(e)ra > chamre > chambre; sim(u)lare > semler > sembler;
gen(e)ru > genre > gendre; pol(ve)re > polre > polder; laz(a)ru > lazre
> la(z)dre; ess(e)re > esre > estre; spin(u)la > espinle > espingle.
The evidence that demonstrates the synchronic nature of consonant
intrusion in Old French is exemplified by the root alternations like:
men-our - mend-re; crem-ons - creimb-re; attaign-ons - attaind-re;
naiss-ons - naist-re; dol-eir - dold-ra; val-eir -vald-ra.
Following Clements 1987:41-42, Martínez-Gil formalizes consonant
intrusion a the sequence of five independent mechanisms: ''(i) the
insertion of (C)onsonantal slot between the two members of a cluster
of increasing sonority; (ii)-(iii) two universal default rules that
assign the inserted C-slot, respectively, the major class features
[-sonorant, -continuant], and the orality features [-nasal, -lateral];
and finally (iv)-(v), two further independent operations which spread
laryngeal and point of articulation features from the preceding
The further explanations by Clements based on the Syllable Contact Law
and the Universal Sonority Hierarchy are found insufficient, because
they lack explanatory power. Martínez-Gil enumerates phenomena to which
Clements' approach does not provide any explanation and notes the cases
which are not going along with the Universal Sonority Hierarchy and
violate the Syllable Contact Law. He also mentions that ''in rule-based
phonology there is no coherent theory of how rules interact with
Having shown insufficient character of rule-based theory, Martínez-Gil
introduces his optimality theoretical account of intrusive consonants
based on Correspondence Theory (McCarty & Prince 1995, 1997). Our
impression is that this account is by no means simpler, as the author
suggests. It involves a long series of preferences and licensing. However
this approach helps to better understanding of ''a uniform account of
consonant intrusion.'' It is not necessarily simpler as the explanation,
although it reduces the role of formal machinery and appeals
exclusively to independently needed universal constraints.
4. ''A constraint interaction theory of Italian raddoppiamento'' / Mario
Saltarelli (pp. 59-79)
It was noticed already in 1872 and described in many studies that
Italian shows evidence of initial consonant lengthening
(raddoppiamentofono-sintattico 'phonosyntactic doubling'--RF) [example:
chiamò Maria, i.e. kja.mòm.marí:.a] which realized at syntactic phrase
Many explanations of this phenomenon were offered, some debate over
the derivational source of the doubling' element, others define RF as
an autonomous phonological rule. Saltarelli presupposes that RF is just
one manifestation at phonetic interface of more general effects of
quantitative restrictions between consonants and vowels, responding to
conflicting constraints, following Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky
Section 2 exposes RF in the light of the previous derivational studies,
highlighting issues and new data relevant to understanding of the
phenomenon. In Section 3, Saltarelli proposes a re-assessment of RF in
view of quantitative restrictions regulating duration in both
consonants and vowels from a universal perspective. Finally in Section
4, the author revisits rules, constraints and the typology of RF.
Already in section 3, RF emerges as a manifestation of the evaluative
function of constraint interaction. A re-positioning of RF as an effect
of universal quantity restrictions under prosodic conditions leads to
better understanding of a number of phonological elements, such as s+C
clusters, coda lengthening, etc.
In addition, Saltarelli enumerates grammatical types (by Lexical Head
Categories and by Functional Categories) and their distribution (in
different Italian dialects and dialect groups). At that an explanation
is offered, why the Marsican dialect of Pescasseroli differs Italian in
lacking RF as triggered by lexical heads, while maintaining RF
triggered by individual functional items. In difference from other
Italian dialects, Marsican prefers vowel lengthening in satisfaction of
prosodic prominence in sandhi contexts.
In the conclusion, the new definition of raddoppiamento offered as a
grammatically based dichotomy between lexical and functional triggers.
5. ''Ground/Focus: A perspective from French'' / Claire Beyssade, Jean-
Marie Marandin, and Annie Rialland (pp. 83-98)
Departing from the quote from Lambrecht & Michaelis 1998 about the lack
of the conceptual framework, missing, confused or contradicting notions
about the aspects of information structure, this Paris team of
researchers aims to contribute to the clarifications of the notions of
Focus, Ground, Given, and Discourse Topic on the basis of new analysis
They start from description of French stress, stating that
''illocutionary boundary tones'' (IBT) play a role in focus marking. The
main types of IBTs are the assertion low boundary tone (L%) and the
question high boundary tone (H%). The tree researchers manipulate
different statements trying to understand to what exactly question each
statement is the answer, thus shedding light on the meaning of Focus.
An interesting feature of this research is interconnection of prosodic,
intonation, syntactic, logical and communicational aspects of the
language which are rarely exhibited in their interconnection in the
same research project.
6. ''The subject clitics of Conversational European French:
Morphologization, grammatical change, semantic change, and change in
progress'' / Bonnie Fonseca-Greber and Linda R. Waugh (pp. 99-117)
This paper treats the subject clitics of spoken French. The authors
mention a significant body of research on morphologization of the
clitics, substitution of pronominal clitics by the impersonal correlate
and other changes.
However they note that after all this research, it is still unclear in
what stage those changes are, which changes are completed and which are
in progress. The authors have far going intentions to present the
corpus study of all the changes and clear out the understanding of
grammatical change, synchronic variation and even further to describe
what impact have these changes on the typological status of
conversational French, and on its typological relation with the other
The authors presuppose that the school learning of French is based on
the written language and thus the perception of French as it concerns
grammatical judgments is unreliable. As a remedy for this shortcoming
they propose the methodology based on corpus-based research of spoken
French of adult native speakers.
Two large corpora were used for the present study, namely, Fonseca-
Greber's corpus of Everyday Conversational Swiss French and Waugh's
corpus of Everyday Conversational Metropolitan French. As it was
already stated by Offord (1990) all European regional varieties of
French from Belgium to Switzerland have the same standards as standard
French [of France] with minor lexical and phonological modifications.
Parts of the discussion (§3.2) are based on partial use of the even
larger corpus of Everyday Conversational European French.
Using Schwegler (1990), the authors determine that the subject clitics
of the 1st and 2nd person have been fully morphologized into
inflectional prefixes, while the subject clitics of the 3rd person lag
somewhat behind, because they fail the test of obligatoriness.
The authors demonstrate reduced forms and reduced paradigms of the
subject clitics of all 3 persons and describe how the process of
reduction and weakening of the subject clitics impacts word boundaries.
The most striking change described in the paper is nearly absolute loss
of 'nous' (we) as subject clitic and its replacement by 'on' which is
used with a finite form of a verb in the 3rd person sg. (99% of
recorded utterances). From the context it is easy to determine that the
meaning remains of the 1st person pl. The new use of 'on' caused
gradual disappearance of use of 'on' in its traditional indefinite
Now when 'on' has undergone the semantic change, a need arose to find a
substitute for indefinite meaning. This function was taken on by 'tu'
and 'vous'. Indefinite use of these pronouns can be attributed to
foreign influences, particularly English.
The current reviewer can say that this use is also common in spoken
Russian. On obvious reasons, the language contacts of French and
English are stronger. However this can be a parallel development in
At the end, the researcher enumerate the other changes which they
didn't have chance to discuss in the current paper, thus reserving
the topics for future research. In the final paragraph the authors
conclude that French is becoming like other Romance languages in
developing null subjects.
The authors should be congratulated for clear presentation of the
problem, good examples, use of tables and statistics. They give an
impressing picture of the rapid change of the ordinary conversational
language of France and Switzerland. It seems that the written and
conversational varieties of French develop typologically different
7. ''A scalar propositional negative polarity item in Spanish'' / Javier
Gutiérrez-Rexach and Scott A. Schwenter (pp. 119-131)
These two researchers study the semantics and pragmatics of a negative
polarity item in Spanish. First they discuss prepositional negative
polarity items, such as nada, nadie, ni; then 'que digamos'. We should
mention the typo in example 9b where in 'que digamos' the final s was
The authors used the Corpus de Referentia del Español Actual and
observed that 88% of all occurrences of 'que digamos' are accompanied
by a scalar degree expression. The exclusions only confirm the rule, in
these cases 'que digamos' is used to attenuate a contextually salient
scalar value. Pragmatically the main function of 'que digamos' is to
contravene scalar expectation whether explicit or implicit.
This paper is a good addition to the semantic research of Spanish. The
ideas of Gutiérrez-Rexach and Schwenter might also be extended to other
8. ''A pragmatic analysis of Imperfect Conditionals'' / Michela Ippolito
Ippolito discusses semantic mechanisms of conditional mode. She argues
that sometimes even the imperfect in indicative mode has conditional
meaning, i.e. the past has modal use. She demonstrates this idea with
Italian and Turkish examples. One of her conclusions states that the
verb in past tense (not only imperfect, but even aorist) can be or must
be interpreted outside the context, in order to avoid a semantic clash
with other temporal elements such as adverbs.
The present reviewer wish to add that he encountered similar modal uses
in Hebrew and other Semitic languages (mostly in imperfect, but also in
9. ''Indirect objects in ditransitive constructions in Brazilian
Portuguese'' / Heloisa Maria M. Lima Salles and Maria Marta P. Scherre
The object of the paper to show that Brazilian Portuguese (BP) differs
European Portuguese (EP), among other usages, by a clear tendency to
eliminate preposition a introducing indirect object, replacing it by
para or em. This is a known fact which was discussed previously in many
The authors of the present paper examine this phenomenon in BP spoken
in Fortaleza (Northeastern state Ceará), where the elimination of
preposition a is less radical. They found the use of para (in all
forms, full, reduced and contracted) - 67% and the use of a - 33%. In
order to find the governing mechanism of distribution of both
prepositions, the authors try to establish division of verbs to several
groups each requiring different preposition. They also take into
account referential function of the nominal in the direct object
position (e.g. presence or absence of article before the nominal).
Thus semantic features in the syntactic environment are also at play to
influence the choice of a preposition. In BP, the preposition para
tends to be selected in contexts involving the feature [-(potentially)
light] on the verb and [+referential] on the direct object nominal,
whereas the preposition a tends to be found with the opposite features.
EP does not display any grammatical process encoding the above-
mentioned differences in the conceptual representation of the
Lima Salles and Scherre made a significant effort in the linguistic
analysis of very complex ongoing linguistic change in BP. What is
puzzling, however, that they do not raise question, why the process
of change described occurs in BP, while EP is not touched by it.
10. ''Pragmatic variation in Spanish: External request modifications in
Peninsular and Uruguayan Spanish'' / Rosina Márquez Reiter (pp. 167-180)
This paper focuses on speech act realization and its author attempts to
fill the gape in investigation of pragmatic variation in different
varieties of Spanish.
Márquez Reiter notes that the difference of the (possible)
communication styles between Peninsular and Latin American speakers can
vary in degrees of (possible) misunderstandings mostly pertaining to
the differences in politeness systems or formality/informality levels.
Then she clarifies the difference between indirectness and
tentativeness categories as they applied in formulation of requests.
The paper describes two research experiments conducted in Uruguay in
1997 (Uruguayan material) and in England (Peninsular material) in 2000.
The requests were collected via a non-prescriptive open role play from
two unequal independent groups of undergraduate students. Both
experiments were recorded, Uruguayan material was audio-taped, while
Peninsular material was video-recorded. In each of the two groups the
students were not (too) familiar with each other and therefore were
indirect when interacting. No consideration of gender were taken into
account. 13 examples are transcribed, translated and discussed in the
Márquez Reiter studies peripheral elements and finds that there are
differences in use and perception of users of two groups. Thus 'oye' is
a preferred precursor in Peninsular, while 'mira' is used in Uruguayan
Spanish. Also as precursor, the literal semantic meaning of both verbs
is reduced to a meaning 'pay attention', each of two varieties prefer
to use as a precursor one of these verbs, while the second one retains
the literal semantic meaning.
[Note. Incidentally the current reviewer encountered the only 'mira'
precursor in scholarly texts in Judeo-Spanish of the 16th century which
obviously reflect the older Old Spanish usage. The Uruguayan Spanish
[as most of Latin American varieties of Spanish] probably more closely
continues traditional Old Spanish usages than Peninsular Spanish. The
'oye' in Judeo-Spanish occurs only in the literal meaning 'hear,
Speaking on other precursors, Uruguayans perceive perdón as more formal
The same precursors can be used in Peninsular Spanish but their
incidence is very low compared to Uruguayan speech. When they used in
the Peninsular Spanish, the verb perdonar is preferred to disculpar.
Uruguayans prefer combination of the verb with a title. This analysis
shows that the Uruguayans are relatively more conscious about their
space/distance and that of the addressee, moreover they explicitly
acknowledge the hearer's authority over them, expressing more feelings
of social inequality.
[Note. I can state again that this usage is characteristic for Judeo-
Spanish of the 16th century and Old Spanish usage. In the texts of 15th
and 16th centuries it is a regular use.--HYS]
At the end of conclusions, Márquez Reiter attempt to reduce the
impression of significant differences of pragmatic functions in the two
varieties of Spanish.
The last sentence of the paper, ''unfamiliarity, rather than any actual
typological difference, appears to be the main force at work'' is coming
as a surprise. The statement might be true, but all the discussion in
the paper was not directed to this conclusion. In order to prove this
is true, the researcher had to juxtapose examples of utterances by
familiar and unfamiliar interlocutors, and then to discuss the results.
The absence of the comparison makes this statement unfound. The
examples provided in the text of paper are accompanied with excellent
English translations, while those in appendix are not translated. Thus
the value of appendix is diminished for English reader.
This research paper is a valuable addition to the study of pragmatic
differences in varieties of Spanish. One would hope for further
comparative research of speech acts in Spanish dialects.
11. ''Clitic simplification in a contact variety of Spanish: Third
person accusative pronouns in the Mexican-American community of
Houston'' / N. Ariana Mrak (pp. 181-194)
Mrak studies change of a language in situation of language contacts,
particularly contacts of languages with different linguistic
systems, in this case the language of Mexican-American community of
Houston and American English.
The study is based on interviews with three groups of speakers,
division based on their ages of arrival in the U.S., only with one
restriction: they have to reside in Houston no less than 10 years. The
samples of unaffected Mexican Spanish of Mexico City were taken from
Lope Blanch 1976, because unavailability of data about unaffected
Mexican Spanish of Houston.
For the study, the researcher has used 30 tape-recorded interviews
which were conducted with the diverse group of informants consisting of
15 men and 15 women who varied in education from the 3rd year of
elementary to the graduate of university, and in occupation from a
housewife and a laborer to military officer, librarian and university
Mrak mentions a number of studies of pronominal clitics in several
varieties of Spanish in situation of language contact (with Basque,
Quechua, Aymara, and Guarani). In different situations the contact
produces different changes.
Thus in Basque Spanish the clitics are omitted in situations where the
referent is an inanimate object, while they used when the noun phrase
indicates a human object. Other researchers found dative clitics in
accusative contexts when the referents are animate objects. In the
situation of contact with Guarani, singular dative le replaces any of
the four accusative clitics, lo/la/los/las. In Ecuador, two forms as
accusative pronominal are used instead of the four, namely lo and le.
They also produce the dative singular form in accusative situations. In
Puno, Peru, the use of either lo or le (for the four accusative
clitics, lo/la/los/las) varies depending from L1 of the speakers:
speakers of Spanish as L1 prefer le (the dative form), while speakers
of Quechua or Aymara as their L1 prefer lo.
The picture which the current research produces is more complicated
than one all previous researches described. The four expected forms of
accusative clitics are the most widely used in the Mexican-American
Spanish of Houston. However, when the speaker does not want to produce
one of these four forms, he resorts to repetition of the noun phrase
(in the second and third generation of the speakers the frequency of
repetition is 14 and 15% respectively). When the speaker doesn't want
to repeat the noun phrase, he replaces it with eso (which is does not
indicate gender or number). This use accounts to 8% of frequency. Next
follows the type of leísmo when four accusative forms are replaced with
le or les (dative forms). This use is not popular in the Mexican-
American Spanish of Houston, but generational distinction shows slight
increase of this use in the third generation of speakers. As matter of
fact, all the shapes of reduction of clitics are more strongly attested
in the third generation of speakers.
12. ''The expression of topic in spoken Spanish: An empirical study'' /
Francisco Ocampo (pp. 195-208)
While the title defines this study as an empiric one, it is based on a
large corpus of informal conversations with 32 middle class speakers of
La Plata, Argentina. Mostly the simple sentences analyzed taking in
account word order, prosodic features, cognitive motivation, relation
of stress and topic shift, gradation of topic saliency.
In Spanish the topic is expressed mostly by a noun phrase in the
preverbal position, while there are cases when the topic already
established, in consecutive phrases it can be relocated to the last
place (postverbal position), or referred to by pronominal clitic.
Topical subjects with new referents tend to receive primary stress.
Continuing topics are more likely to receive secondary stress.
13. ''An adaptive approach to noun gender in New York contact Spanish''
/ Ricardo Otheguy and Naomi Lapidus (pp. 209-229)
Since Silva-Corvalán 1994 researchers of the United States Spanish
propose contact-induced change that draw on the notion of
simplification. The current researchers propose that contact-induced
changes should additionally be understood in terms of the notion of
The most common phenomenon in all contact languages is cross-language
lone lexical insertions (English lexical insertions - ELIs). The paper
deals with lone English-origin words in the Spanish spoken in NYC. The
discussion is based on the interviews collected in (CUNY) Project on
the Spanish of New York. The 33 socio-linguistic interviews were
conducted with residents of New York City of Puerto Rican, Dominican,
Mexican, Colombian, Cuban and Ecuadorian ancestry. 477 ELIs (noun
tokens) were found in the transcripts of these interviews. The
researchers made sure that these ELIs are characteristic of NYC Spanish
The results are interpreted following adaptation theory (Poplack
1983:125; Nettle 1999:449-451). Both the transcripts and the additional
experiments show that the most of ELIs perceived by the NYC Latinos as
masculine (87%-masc. to 13%-fem.), while relation of the nouns in
original Spanish (native words) are roughly 45% (masc.) to 55% (fem.).
The researchers explain the reasons of change of this relation by
phonological and semantic factors. These findings run counter to so
called analogical criterion, according to which the ELI takes the
gender of the word it displaces (Zamora 1975; Weinreich 1953:45).
An additional statistic table for the same corpus shows identical
proportion of noun tokens with and without anaphoric reference. The
cases of marked gender are easier to study than unmarked one.
The researchers note that they still not entirely understand issue of
gender in anaphora and that their study has several important
limitations related to not distinguishing loans from switches.
This carefully planned and thoughtfully conducted project paves the way
to additional research projects into intricacies of adaptation and for
study of language of minority groups in many countries.
14. ''Properties of the double object construction in Spanish'' / Tonia
Bleam (pp. 233-252)
The section ''Syntax'' opens with the paper on the double object
construction in Spanish. Bleam using new data based on idioms shows
that indirect object doubling construction should be assimilated to the
English double object construction. Following Masullo 1992; Demonte
1995; Ormazabal & Romero 1999; and Bleam 1999 she shows the differences
in underlying structure for the prepositional dative in English and
clitic-less constructions in Spanish. She analyses binding asymmetries,
scope freezing and juxtaposes alternate projection versus derivation.
Meaning differences are accounted with the help of Harley's alternate
projection analysis (Harley 1995, 2000) based on the central idea that
verbs of transfer have two different lexical decompositions which
project different structures in the syntax.
15. ''Spanish perception verbs and sequence of tenses: Aktionsart
effects'' / Alicia Cipria (pp. 253-272)
Alicia Cipria examines Spanish perception verbs when used with tensed
complements (mainly the imperfect or the preterit). Under perception
verbs she means such verbs as ver, oir, palpar and oler. The previous
research (Gili y Gaya 1961; RAE; and Suñer and Padilla-Rivera 1987)
with little differences stated that the complement verb must have a
simultaneous relationship with the main verb of perception or it should
match the tense specification of the main verb. Otherwise the meaning
of the main verb changes to that of cognition. Cipria demonstrates
examples where no simultaneous reading arises. She determines that the
difference in readings comes from a pragmatic rather than a semantic
source. She considers division of verbs into states (Vendler 1967) and
meaning of the term ''aktionart'' and its division into telic and atelic
aktionarten. Then she analyses all the meanings (or uses) of the
imperfect and comes to result that it always displays atelic actionart,
while the preterit sometimes exhibits the complement situation as
simultaneous with the main verb and sometimes as preceding the event
described by the main verb.
We believe that on some steps of her analysis Cipria mistakenly uses a
priori subjective judgments. For example: having brought examples
(18) Vi que los niños construyeron un castillo en 5 minutos, and
(19) Vi que los niños construyeron un castillo, she states:
''I claim that non-availability of a backward shifted reading for (19)
is simply a pragmatic effect, triggered by the brief nature of '5
minutes' and the possibility for a sand castle to be built in a short
period of time.'' If the children had built an extremely fancy castle
with Legos, then we could truthfully utter :
(20) Vi que los niños construyeron un castillo en 10 horas.
From what we know about the real world and people in it and their
activities, there is not a pragmatically viable situation in which the
subject witnesses or 'sees' the entire eventuality of ''building a
castle in 10 hours.'' Facts like these just reinforce the importance of
pragmatic effects in the available temporal interpretations. (pp.
Thus the researcher finds a big difference between '5 minutes' and '10
hours' in interpretation of the grammatical tense. This is true in real
life but not for the purpose to decide which action preceded which,
because it is clear from the three examples that the subject of the
main close saw (witnessed) that the children have build the castle and
accomplished it (18) in 5 minutes, (19) some time ago, (20) in 10
hours. In our opinion, the judgment based on ''personal experience''
about the real world has no place in decisions on temporal relations of
the main verb and the verb of the close. These grammatical relations
are rather formal and substitution of the adverbial complement does not
change temporal relations.
Otherwise the paper is a valuable contribution on temporal sequence.
16. ''Defaults and competition in the acquisition of functional
categories in Catalan and French'' / Lisa Davidson and Géraldine
Légendre (pp. 273-290)
As it was known, in the process of the acquisition of language, in
early childhood, the children prefer to use not-finite root forms
cross-linguistically (Guasti 1994; Torrens 1995; Weverink 1989; K.
Wexler 1994; Phillips 1995; Ferdinand 1996; Grinstead 1998; Meisel
1994). During the growth of the children the use of non-finite and
finite forms fluctuates, gradually approximating to the norms of
''correct'' grammar of the adults. The authors of this paper took on
themselves the task to explore the similarities and differences in the
patterns of acquisition of their native language by French and Catalan
According to Grinstead 1998, the third person singular present
indicative forms may be default forms in Catalan. The current
researchers probe this statement on their data.
Then they compare the acquisition of tense and agreement and finally
using Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993) they analyse
development stages on one particular Catalan child. Using data from two
particular corpora (coming from the CHILDES database), they
demonstrated four stages, three children for each language. Detailed
information was published previously for French in Legendre et al.,
1999 and for Catalan in Davidson 2001.
On the first stage the children use infinitives, bare participles, and
bare gerunds. The French children use considerably more not-finite root
forms than Catalan children. The Catalan children, in their turn,
substitute 1st person, 2nd person singular and 3rd person plural forms
of verb by the form of the 3rd person singular. This phenomenon was
interpreted as an agreement error.
In conclusion, despite the previous assumptions, Catalan looks very
much like French, only instead of not-finite root form Catalan learners
use the third person singular present indicative. French learners begin
acquiring understanding of tense first, Catalan learners acquire
understanding of agreement first.
An optimality-theoretic analysis with partial constraint ranking can
explain how varying proportions of tensed, agreeing, and default
This outstanding study is conducted in a very logical and thoughtful
manner and it gives results useful not only for language educators, but
also for practical evaluation and measurement of child's development
and work of language pathologists.
17. ''Constraints on the meanings of Bare Nouns'' / Viviane Déprez (pp.
Déprez (l'accent aigu in the name of the author following the title of
the paper on p. 291 is mistakenly omitted) has a goal to capture and
predict the various meanings of nominal expressions without determiners
cross-linguistically. She finds that previous research of this topic
(Chierchia 1998) was useful, but not entirely accurate and its
conclusions are contradicted by linguistic material of certain
languages, particularly by Haitian Creole data.
Déprez initiated an alternative approach based on a syntactic
parameter, more precisely the Plural Parameter of bare nominals in
Haitian Creole. This paper extends this syntactically inspired approach
beyond Creole, using also the data of non-Creole languages. The
presentation of material in the present paper reflects an intermediate
stage of the research project. Beside several Creole dialects, she
utilizes data of several Romance languages.
This paper outlines a model that predicts and constrains the distinct
readings of bare nominals in a variety of languages.
18. ''Null objects revisited'' / Jon Franco and Alazne Landa (pp. 311-
The present paper is critical of research on null objects published in
the 80s and 90s, especially to Sánchez 1998. The researchers from
Bilbao show that in the phenomenon of null objects in Basque Spanish:
1) Only object clitics with inanimate referents can drop;
2) it is impossible to have object drop with animates [which contrasts
with Brazilian Portuguese and Andean Spanish];
3) inanimate direct objects are never clitic doubled.
Analyzing language contact influence, two scholars do not find parallel
structure in present linguistic situation in Basque and Basque Spanish,
but it is not excluded ''that there must be some type of preexisting
parallel structures'' at some period in the history of Basque Spanish.
Despite, the researchers demonstrated serious efforts to explain the
phenomenon of null objects and its mechanism in Basque Spanish, their
explanations are still hypothetical in great measure. The problem
requires an additional research.
The research of a particular syntactic phenomenon in two structurally
different languages stumbles into disparity of their verbal complexes
and their mechanisms of agreements.
19. ''Auxiliary choice and pronominal verb constructions: The case of
the passé surcomposé'' / Kate Paesani (pp. 327-340)
The choice of an auxiliary verb in Romance was treated many times, most
recently by E. Benveniste (1966), R. Freeze (1992) and R. Kayne (1993).
Kayne being the last in this chain and familiar with the ideas of his
predecessors proposed that both main verb and auxiliary 'have' are
instances of 'be' to which
An abstract D/P0 head has incorporated. Paesani treats auxiliary choice
in pronominal verb constructions in the French passé surcomposé (psc)
[=an inflected auxiliary + a participial auxiliary + participial main
verb]. The syntactic constructions in this case show strange disparity.
When the main verb selects 'avoir' as its auxiliary, the form of the
auxiliary compound is consistently 'avoir eu'; however, when the main
verb selects 'être', the compound auxiliary varies between 'avoir été'
and 'être eu'. Paesani proposes two key factors which determine the
spell-out form of the auxiliary compound: 1) the presence or absence of
an abstract D/P0 head in the syntax and 2) Kayne's (1993:21) 'have for
be' parameter. Aware of Jolivet's (1984) claims that variation in the
form of the auxiliary compound is also contextually determined, Paesani
adopts a dialect hypothesis that makes use of a single syntactic
structure and a dialect-specific parameter. She claims that the
participial auxiliary is a verb. Upon analyzing the syntax of have/be
alternations, she draws a number of complex formulas which describe
general structure for participial constructions. Many factors of
syntactic nature are included into account. Most of deliberations
incorporate Kayne's ideas.
This analysis relies crucially on head incorporation and participial
AGR, presence or absence of a D/P0 head, while the movement of a DP
subject through AgrO versus AgrS accounts for auxiliary choice in
transitive and unaccusative verbs.
I should note that exposition of the topic is done in highly technical
style and with many formulas and abbreviations that makes this paper
difficult to follow. Its weak point is presence of multiple assumptions.
The conclusions are heavily dependant on these assumptions.
20. ''The lexical preverbal subject in a Romance Null Subject
Language: Where are thou?'' / Margarita Suñer (pp. 341-357)
This paper investigates where preverbal subjects are in Spanish, a
Romance language without subject clitics. Adopting the Minimalist
Program, Suñer assumes that when no preverbal lexical subject is
present, the SpecTP in NSLs contains a null element belonging to the
Det category. She demonstrates that Spanish preverbal subjects are in
A-position. Upon analyzing a number of modern Greek and Spanish
sentences she concludes that Spanish preverbal subjects, unlike Greek
ones, may be as ambiguous as those in English. Suñer investigates how
different orders of modal verbs (on one side 'may', on another 'can')
correlate with the preverbal/postverbal position of the subject in
She finds that with perfect tenses the epistemic reading (poder >> un)
predominates for most speakers, irrespective of indefiniteness and
subject position. With other tenses, possibilities vary.
An attentive reader may find many interesting observations in this
paper. For example, Suñer observes from the interaction between an
indefinite subject and a modal in Spanish that the preverbal subject
does not obligatorily have wide scope over the modal, contrary to what
happens in Greek.
Comparing several of Suñer's statements (p. 342, at the end of sec. 1
and p. 347, at the end of sec. 2.2) we find a contradiction. In the
first statement, she says that ''the Spanish preverbal subjects are
in A-position'', while in the second that ''scope facts do not
provide unequivocal evidence for considering Spanish preverbal subjects
to be in A-bar position.'' Most probably, this a result of not careful
formulation (one would think that the first statement contains an
assumption, while the second statement is based on examination of a
number of examples, since further she continues to argue that Spanish
preverbal subjects occupy A-position, see pp. 349-352). In her final
remarks (p.352, sec. 4), she says, ''Spanish (and Standard Italian)
subjects do not necessarily behave as they were in A-bar position.''
Here we see that the researcher is not completely sure in her
conclusions. But two lines down she writes, ''Moreover, reconstruction
effects ... and the possibility for ad sensum agreement with collective
subjects ... unequivocally show that Spanish preverbal subjects are in
an A position.''
The paper presents a very valuable research project. However, it is
advisable that the author who is a veteran researcher would re-examine
the facts and rewrite her arguments and conclusions in clearer
21. ''Intervention effects in the French wh-in-situ construction:
Syntax or interpretation'' / María Luisa Zubizarreta (pp. 359-379)
This paper follows recent writings by Cédric Boeckx (see References).
Boeckx identified three central properties of the interrogative
constructions in French. Zubizarreta asks the question whether the
three properties (exhaustivity, ''intervention effects,'' and locality)
are related. The current paper is limited only to the discussion of the
relation of the first two properties. The researcher treats the wh-in-
situ constructions vis-à-vis the fronted wh-constructions. She
exemplifies all existing wh- situations in 30 sets of the fronted wh-
constructions as opposite to the wh-in-situ constructions, then
analyzes them checking in each case relation between ' exhaustivity'
and ' intervention effects'. She comes to conclusion, ''that a syntactic
Minimality-based account of the so-called 'intervention effects' in the
French wh-in-situ gives the wrong result'', i.e. one can understand that
the relation of 'exhaustivity' and 'intervention effects' should be
analyzed not on the level of the syntax, but rather at the interface of
logic and semantics.
EVALUATION OF THE VOLUME
In general, the volume presents plethora of interesting research
papers. As expected researchers make heavy use of Chomskian and Post-
Chomskian linguistics. Chomsky's ideas dominate the methodology.
Constraint-based analysis, Correspondence theory, Optimality theory,
Grammatization, Synchronic variation and Language contact are the major
topics of the volume. All these problems are studied in the microcosm
of specific minor or seemingly minor themes based on one language or a
It is a nature of the conference materials to be diverse and not
connected each to other, because of different interests of researchers.
One would desire to have a greater thematic unity; however the editors
as well as the organizing committee of the symposium are prompted to
give an opportunity to the participants to present the results of their
Still a publication of the thematic selections of the symposium
materials would be desirable. It would enable specialized audiences to
collect the parts of the symposium's materials which are closer to the
interest of particular researchers and research teams and use them more
actively. In the existing situation, it is used mostly by the
participants of the symposium. In the case of thematic collections of
papers, it is possible to include more papers from several symposia,
because the materials will be divided to a number of volumes, each may
contain more papers on similar problems.
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| ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Hayim Y. Sheynin studied Classical philology, Semitic languages and
Oriental Studies in Leningrad (now St.-Petersburg, Russia) and
Philadelphia (USA). He hold Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania
(1987). He taught Hebrew literature and Semitic linguistics in Haifa
University, Israel; Dropsie University and Gratz College, last two in
Philadelphia, PA. His previous research was in Cairo Genizah
manuscripts, History of Hebrew printing, and medieval Hebrew
literature. His current interests are in Jewish languages, Judeo-Arabic
and especially Judeo-Spanish, as well in Lexicography, Sociolinguistic
and Historical linguistics. He contributed a number of articles and
reviews to Jewish Quarterly Review, Linguist List, Studies in
Linguistics and other periodicals.