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Academic Paper


Title: Genre effects on subject expression in Spanish: Priming in narrative conversation
Author: Catherine E. Travis
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.unm.edu/~spanish/sp/travis/travis.htm
Institution: University of New Mexico
Linguistic Field: General Linguistics; Discipline of Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Spanish
Abstract: Structural priming refers to the process whereby the use of a syntactic structure in an utterance functions as a prime on a subsequent utterance, such that that same structure is repeated. This article investigates this phenomenon from the perspective of first-person singular subject expression in Spanish. Two dialects and two genres of spoken Spanish are studied: New Mexican narratives and Colombian Spanish conversation. An analysis of 2,000 verbs occurring with first-person singular subjects reveals that subject expression undergoes a priming effect in both data sets, but that the effect is more short-lived in the Colombian data. This is found to be attributable to the interactional nature of these data, showing that the need to deal with interactional concerns weakens the priming effect. As the first study to compare priming of subject expression across distinct genres, this article makes an important contribution to our understanding of this effect, and in particular, of factors that play a role in its maintenance or dissipation in discourse.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language Variation and Change Vol. 19, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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