The variable use subject personal pronouns (SPPs) in Spanish has been
studied in Peninsular dialects, U.S. Spanish, Latin America and Puerto
Rico. This study investigates the phenomenon in a new speech community:
Puerto Rican residents of New York City (NYC). The main linguistic factors
that were found to affect the use of SPPs are: The form used in a previous
mention of the verb's subject, the distance to last mention of the verb's
subject, and switch reference. Other factors discussed: the verb's TMA,
person and number, and phrases of habitual collocation.
A new sociolinguistic finding is discussed. A cluster effect was found in
the use of overt and null forms, a pragmatic device used to maintain
protagonists in the narratives in the open and on the table.
The external factors investigated are narrative style, age, gender, and
exposure to NYC, indirectly related to contact with English.
A new finding with regard to conflict narrative suggests that conflict
conditions the use of SPP, and that singular pronouns are favored in this
This study sheds new light regarding the effects of English contact. The
NYC native-born Puerto Rican had a stronger tendency to use more overt SPPs
than other NYC residents. However, while exposure to NYC may be indirectly
associated to English contact, several contradictions argue against an
English contact hypothesis.