Nicolás Stindt Vicente
Reinhard Blutner
Editorial/Institución editora: 
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Tipo de publicación: 
Tipo de tesis: 
Tesis doctorales
Materias de especialidad: 

Spanish, like Italian and Chinese, is a -subject language. In -subject languages, overt subjects are not mandatory. In fact, Spanish speakers avoid them quite often. In this work, we run a series of experiments that provide evidence about how different anaphoric devices are used and interpreted by children (around the age of five) and adults. Specifically, we are concerned with how overt or covert subject expressions refer back to an entity already introduced in the previous discourse. Dropping the subject is probably the best example of how far the Gricean maxim of quantity can go. English speakers, however, are not allowed to be that thrifty. Linguists tend to agree that they are somehow there: subjects –we are told– represent a special kind of pronominal expression that happens to be ‘phonetically empty’. In syntactic jargon, Spanish –but not English– allows the subject position of a tensed clause to be occupied by an ‘empty’ pronoun. Assuming this, henceforth we will refer to subjects as subject pronouns (NSP for short). Considering that the NSP in (1b) are roughly equivalent to instances of the pronoun ‘he’ in the English translation, one might wonder whether Spanish overt personal pronouns are ever used in subject position. For, if the more economical NSP is available, it looks like speakers should simply avoid them. However, things are not that easy. Grice (1975) not only noted that speakers tend to follow certain maxims. He also remarked that they don’t always do. As a matter of fact, he explained that flouting them is the usual way that speakers take to communicate non-conventional, implicated meanings. So a speaker using an overt subject pronoun (henceforth OSP) instead of a NSP need not be just wasting energy. Through the violation of the maxim of quantity, she might be intending to communicate something else.

Correo electrónico: 
16/06/2016 Publicaciones