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Query Details

Query Subject:   Spanish clitic "se"
Author:   Randy Sharp
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Morphology
Subject Language(s):  Spanish

Query:   Dear Linguists,

I am doing research on the Spanish clitic ''se''. I've not been able to find
much on it; I've found more on Italian ''si'' (e.g. Manzini 1986, Hyams
1986) and French ''se'' (Wehrli 1986). I'm trying to do something similar to
their approach, i.e. unifying the different uses of ''se'' into a single
morpheme which covers all of the instances of Spanish ''se''. I would be
very grateful if you could direct me to any references on this topic.

Some immediate questions that I have are the following:
(1) What is the ''se'' in (i)b and (ii)b?
(i) a. Lo comio todo. (sorry; no accents)
b. Se lo comio todo.
(ii) a. Metio las manos en los bolsillos.
b. Se metio las menos en los bolsillos.

Could this be an ethical dative? I've never seen it described as such
anywhere. A pedagogical grammar I have describes it as an ''affective'' or
''intensifier'', which at best describes its effect.

(2) Is there any explanation for why the spurious ''se'' is ''se'' and not
something else? For that matter, is there an explanation for why it even
occurs, other than ''for phonological reasons''?

Thank you very much.

Randy Sharp
University of British Columbia

Manzini, Hyams and Wehrli (1986) are all taken from ''Syntax and Semantics:
The Syntax of Pronominal Clitics'' Vol.19, Hagit Borer (ed.).
LL Issue: 11.402
Date posted: 26-Feb-2000


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