The ‘Big DP’ Hypothesis: New Evidence from Gender Agreement in a Shipibo-Spanish Language Contact Situation

Authors

Abstract

Previous evidence suggests clitics and determiners do not enter the same type of gender agreement relations in contact varieties of Spanish, despite proposals that treat clitics as determiners (big DP – Determiner Phrase – hypothesis) (Uriagereka 1995; Cecchetto 1999, 2000; Belletti 2005). We conducted a study on gender agreement between clitics and their antecedents, and determiners and nouns among adult Shipibo-Spanish bilinguals to answer the following question: Do Shipibo- Spanish bilingual speakers have similar patterns of local vs. long-distance gender agreement? Our results show gender agreement between D and N obtains categorically, but gender agreement between the clitic and its antecedent is at chance-level. We propose an alternative analysis for our data that does not assume the big DP hypothesis.

Keywords

big DP analysis, clitics, determiner-noun agreement, gender, language contact, Shipibo, Spanish

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Published

30-06-2023

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