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LINGUIST List 20.3619

Tue Oct 27 2009

Diss: Syntax: Vallejo: 'Focalizing ser ('to be') in Colombian...'

Editor for this issue: Di Wdzenczny <dilinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Dunia Mendez Vallejo, Focalizing ser ('to be') in Colombian Spanish

Message 1: Focalizing ser ('to be') in Colombian Spanish
Date: 26-Oct-2009
From: Dunia Mendez Vallejo <Catalina.Mendez-Vallejomail.wvu.edu>
Subject: Focalizing ser ('to be') in Colombian Spanish
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Institution: Indiana University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Dunia Catalina Mendez Vallejo

Dissertation Title: Focalizing ser ('to be') in Colombian Spanish

Dissertation URL: http://community.wvu.edu/~dcm031/FS%20in%20Colombian%20Spanish.pdf

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Subject Language(s): Spanish (spa)

Dissertation Director:
Yoshihisa Kitagawa
Miguel Rodriguez-Mondonedo
Ken deJong
Manuel Diaz-Campos
Cesar Felix-Brasdefer

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation examines the syntactic configuration of the focalizing
ser ('to be') structure (FS) in Colombian Spanish. The FS has been reported
in a few dialects of Spanish (Venezuelan, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Dominican,
and Panamanian), and it is not stigmatized, despite being dialectally
marked. Although the FS has been previously studied, it is still unclear
what kind of constituents may be FS-focused and what its structural
configuration is. Thus, the purpose of the present study is twofold: first,
to offer a clear and comprehensive account of the syntactic properties of
the FS; and second, to propose a coherent theoretical analysis of the form.
Based on acceptability judgments collected from 45 Colombian speakers, I
show that the FS can focus only post-verbal elements, and that the
morphology of FS ser is not established randomly. The empirical
observations gathered in this dissertation allow me to conclude that the FS
is a sentence-internal focus structure, and that FS ser establishes
morphological agreement with the main verb in Tense and Aspect, and with
contrasted post-verbal subjects and certain direct objects in Person and/or
Number. After a careful examination of the agreement patterns shown in FS
ser, I claim that the operation Agree can account for these agreement
processes. The theoretical analysis here proposed seems to provide a more
accurate view of the FS, and to satisfactorily account for all empirical
observations. Future research should extend my syntactic analysis in order
to explore semantic, pragmatic, prosodic, and cognitive aspects that may
incur in the production and perception of the FS.

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