The effect of the verb on pronominal expression: A reanalysis

Rafael Orozco, Johnny Orozco


The verb is a known constraint on subject pronoun expression that has been explored using several different predictor/factor configurations. This paper expands on recent investigations of how verbs condition this phenomenom by analyzing 17,500 tokens from five locales: Barranquilla, Cali, Medellín, New York, and Xalapa. We hypothesized that verb groups do not constitute natural functional subject pronoun constraining categories. We analyze the effect of the verb with multivariate regressions testing – as random effects factors – verbs and pronominal subject+verb collocations. Results uncover – within each corpus – significant opposite tendencies between (a) verbs in the same category and (b) finite forms of a single verb. Findings support our hypothesis revealing that pronominal subject+verb collocations provide a more definitive account of how verbs condition subject pronoun expression. Findings also suggest that pragmatic/cognitive dynamics govern verb effects and provide mounting evidence that despite four decades of research, we have not found the real effects of the verb on subject pronoun expression. This research expands our analytical scope and improves the accountability of findings on this phenomenon by offering new perspectives on the lexical effect of the verb.


language variation; Latin American Spanish; lexical effects; Spanish morphosyntax; sociolinguistics; subject pronoun expression

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Copyright (c) 2022 Rafael Orozco, Johnny Orozco

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