Variable First Person Singular Subject Expression in Spoken Valencian Catalan



In this paper, I analyze first person singular subject pronoun expression in spoken Valencian Catalan varieties. I present a quantitative and qualitative analysis of 7 interviews from the corpus Parlars, examining 1sg subject rates regarding tense markings (syncretic vs. non-syncretic forms), verb type, and discourse type (monologues vs. conversations). It will be shown that the factor of morphological syncretism as well as verb type influence 1sg subject expression rates. Differently from what has been observed in some previous studies on Spanish, cognitive verbs are not associated with particularly high 1sg subject expression rates, but verbs of saying are. Looking at frequent verb forms in the spoken interviews, it will be shown that (jo) dic ‘(I) say’ plays an important role, direct speech being a commonly used mechanism in the data examined here. Furthermore, discourse type (monologue vs. conversation) affects subject expression rates. These results suggest that 1sg subject expression is influenced by an interaction of verb morphology, verb type and specific verb forms, but that subject expression rates and the factors influencing them vary depending on particular pro-drop varieties, discourse types and the type of data. Looking at the contexts in which the strong pronoun jo ‘I’ is used with verbs of saying in spoken Valencian Catalan, I argue that subject expression triggers a perspectival, rather than referential shift in several cases.


strong pronouns, Valencian Catalan, subject expression, pro-drop, perspective, quantitative study, corpus study


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