LINGUIST List 3.246

Mon 16 Mar 1992

Disc: Pro-Drop

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Pro-Drop References
  2. , Pro-Drop acquisition

Message 1: Pro-Drop References

Date: Wed, 11 Mar 92 16:17:36 +0Pro-Drop References
From: <nuytsccu.UIA.AC.BE>
Subject: Pro-Drop References

Some time ago I asked for references on the use of pronouns in pro-drop
languages, on behalf of a colleague of mine. Below is a list of references
she compiled on the basis of your responses (some of them are unfortunately
incomplete). Thanks a lot to all those who have replied. If you want to get
in touch with her (her name is Luisa Martin-Rojo), her email-address is

Jan Nuyts

Akmajian, Adrian, 1984. "Sentence Types and the Form-Function
Fit". Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 2, 1-23.

Barton, Elena, 1990. Nonsentential Constituents, Amsterdam:

Bentivoglio, Paoloa, 1983. "Topic continuity and Discontinuity
in Discourse: A Study of Spoken Latino-American Spanish".
T.Givon, Topic Continuity in Discourse: A Quantitative Cross-
Language Study. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 255-311.

Fern ndez Soriano, Olga, 199?. "Strong Pronouns in Null-Subject
Language and the Avoid Pronoun Principle"

Fleischman, Suzanne, 1991. "Discourse Pragmatics and the Grammar
of Old French: A functional Reinterpretation of 'si' and the
Personal Pronouns". Romance Philology 44/3, 251-283.

Haiman, John, 1991. "From V/2 to Subject Clitics: Evidence from
Nothern Italian". E. Traugott & B. Heine, Approaches to
Grammaticalization, Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Lapolla, Randy, 1990. Grammatical relations in Chinese:
Synchronic and Diachronic considerations. PhD Dissertation,
University of California: Berkeley.

Li, Charles N, & Thompson, Sandra, 1979. "Third-person Pronouns
and Zero-anaphora in Chinese Discourse". Talmy Giv"n (ed.),
Syntax and Semantics, vol.12: Discourse and Syntax. New York:
Academic Press, 311-335.

Liceras, Juana, 1989. "On some properties of the "pro-drop"
parameter: looking for missing subjects in non-native Spanish".
Linguistic perspectives on Language adquisition, Cambridge
University Press.

Napoli, Jo, 1982. "Initial Material Delection". English Glossa
16, 85-111.

Ping, Chen, 1984. "A discourse analysis of third person zero
anaphora in chinese". Bloomington: Indiana University Linguistic
-, 1987. Referent Introducing and Referent Tracking in Chinese
narrative. PhD Dissertation: UCLA.
-, 1987. Nangu Lingxing huizhi de huayu fenxi (A discourse
anylisis of zero anaphora in CHinese). Zhongguo Yuwen 5, 363-378.

Rigau, Gemma, 1986. "Some remarks on the nature of strong
pronouns in null-subjects languages". Ivonne Bordelois, Heles
Contreras, Zagona (eds.), Generative Studies in Spanish Syntax.
Dordrecht: Foris.
-, 1987. "Sobre el car cter de cuantificador de los pronombres
t"nicos en catal n". V. Demonte and M., Fern ndez Lagunilla,
Sintaxis de las lenguas romances. Madrid: El Arquero.
-, 1989. "Connexity Establised by Emphatic Pronouns". Maria
Elisabeth Conte, Janos S. Petfi, Szen (eds.), Text and
Discourse Connected.

Schwarts, Arthur, 1975. "Verb-anchoring and verb-movement". Li,
Charles N (ed.), Word order and word order change. Austin:
University of Texas.

Schmerling, Susan, 1973. Subjectless sentences and the notion of
surface structure. (

Silva-Croval n, Carmen, 1983. "Tense and aspect in oral Spanish:
context and meaning". Language 59, 761-780.

Tao, Liang, 1986. "Clause linkage and zero anphora in Mandarin
Chinese", Davis Working Papers in Linguistcs 1, 36-102.

Thrasher, Randolph, Hallet, 19784. Shouldn't Ignore this Things:
A Study of Conversational Delection. Michigan University.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Pro-Drop acquisition

Date: Sun, 15 Mar 1992 10:12:15 Pro-Drop acquisition
Subject: Pro-Drop acquisition

I have no specific references to supply to Chris Sciglitano, who
is investigating input to children learning pro-Drop languages. I would
like to raise a related query, which contributors may wish to discuss
on Linguist, or about which they could send me references directly.

I work on Australian Aboriginal languages, many of which (particularly
the non-Pama-Nyungan ones) have complex verb morphology including reference
to subject, objects and often other arguments; independent subject and
object pronouns are rarely overtly present except for emphasis.
It has been reported to me anecdotally that speakers of at least some
of these languages use a simplified register to young children in which
the verb morphology is simplified and independent pronouns are used much
more. I do not know of any published description of this phenomenon.
I have been unable to study it because with all such languages that I
have worked on, use of an English based creole has replaced any such
child register.

This kind of language is very common on a world scale and I would be
very interested to learn of related phenomena.

It seems to me that this has implications for theories of historical
change. There seems to me to be a bias towards regarding cliticisation
and morphologisation of pronouns as a natural phenomenon. I have studied
some cases where the opposite process seems to have occurred - loss
of crossreference morphology and restoration of free pronouns. This may
result from "creolisation" - implying some disturbace in inter-generational
transmission. However if simple child registers exist, the source of
the new non-Pro-Drop language may not be so mysterious as is sometimes

Patrick McConvell, Anthropology, Northern Territory University,
PO Box 40146, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue