Changing the focus: An empirical study of "Focalizing ser" (‘to be’) in Dominican Spanish

Dunia Catalina Méndez Vallejo

Abstract

This article examines the perception and production of the Focalizing Ser (FS) structure by Dominican speakers living in three urban communities: Santiago de los Caballeros, Sosúa, and Santo Domingo de Guzmán. FS has received increasing attention over the past years and several studies have investigated it from various linguistic perspectives in Spanish varieties where it is typically found (e.g. Venezuelan Spanish and Colombian Spanish). Although previously reported in Dominican Spanish (Toribio 2002, Alba 2004), FS has still not been extensively analyzed in this variety. The results of three different tests (two acceptability judgment tests and one semi-production test) indicate that FS is certainly entrenched in Dominican speakers’ linguistic inventory and that certain focus types (e.g. FS-focused subject and object DPs, FS-focused CPs and IPs, FS- focused complex VPs, and FS-focused prepositional phrases) are more favorably perceived and more frequently produced across all FS dialects.

Keywords

Information structure, Syntactic Variation, Focalizing Ser, Dominican Spanish

Full Text:

PDF

References

Alba, Orlando. 2004. Cómo Hablamos Los Dominicanos. Un Enfoque Sociolingüístico. Santo Domingo: Grupo León Jimenes.

Albor, Hugo R. 1986. “Uso E Interpretación de Ser En Construcciones Galicadas Y En Él Necesita Es Descansar.” Thesaurus XLI: 173-86.

Boersma. Paul, and Weenink, David. 2008. Praat (version 5.0.36). http://www.praat.org/.

Bosque, Ignacio. 1999. “On Focus vs. Wh-Movement: The Case of Caribbean Spanish.” Sophia Linguistica 44-45: 1-32.

Camacho, José. 2006. “In Situ Focus in Caribbean Spanish: Towards a Unified Account of Focus.” In Proceedings of the 9th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, 13-23. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

Curnow, Timothy J., and Catherine E. Travis. 2004. “The Emphatic Es Construction of Colombian Spanish.” In Selected Papers from the 2003 Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society. http://www.als.asn.au.

Delicado-Cantero, Manuel, Ma. Carmen Parafita Couto, and D. Catalina Méndez Vallejo. 2013. “Focus on the Dialects: The Syntactic Variation of Focus Marking in Caribbean Spanish” presented at the Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, Ottawa.

Espino, Lisandro. 1925. Ensayo de Crítica Gramatical. Panamá: Editorial La Moderna.

Kato, Mary A. 2008. “Clivadas Sem Operador No Português Brasileiro” presented at the II Semináio do Projeo Temático da FAPESP-Sintaxe Gerativa do Português Brasileiro na Entrada do Século XXI: Minimalismo e Interfaces, Universidade de São Paulo.

Mayer, Mercer. 1969. Frog, Where Are You? New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.

Méndez Vallejo, D. Catalina. 2014. “Information structure inside Spanish TPs”. In: R. Orozco (ed.), New directions in Hispanic linguistics. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Méndez Vallejo, D. Catalina. 2012. “On the syntax of the Focalizing Ser ('to be') structure”. In: File-Muriel, R. and R. Orozco (eds.), Linguistic studies in Colombian varieties of Spanish. 212-236. Frankfurt: Vervuert / Iberoamericana.

Méndez Vallejo, D. Catalina. 2009. “Focalizing ser ('to be') in Colombian Spanish”. PhD dissertation. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University.

Mikolajczak, Sylwia. 2003. “Os Tipos Das Construções Com Clivagem Em Portugués.” Studia Romanica Posnaniensia XXX: 187-96.

Oliveira, Marco Antônio de and Maria Luiza Braga. 1997. “On Focusing Sentences in Brazilian Portuguese”. In G. Guy, C. Feagin, D. Shiffrin, and J. Baugh (eds.), Towards a Social Science of Language: Papers in Honor of William Labov, 2: 207-221. New York, NY: John Benjamins. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/cilt.128.15oli

Pato, Enrique. 2008. “Énfasis, Motivación Pragmática Y Creación Sintáctica: El Uso de Ser Focalizador En El Español de Colombia”. Presented at the ALFAL, August, Montevideo.

Sedano, Mercedes. 1990. Hendidas Y Otras Construcciones Con Ser En El Habla de Caracas. Caracas: Universidad Central de Venezuela.

Sedano, Mercedes. 1995. “A La Que Yo Escribí Fue a María vs. Yo Escribí Fue a María: El Uso de Estas Dos Estructuras En El Español de Caracas”. Boletín de Lingüística 9: 51-80.

Toribio, Almeida Jacqueline. 1992. “Proper Government in Spanish Subject Relativization”. Probus 4: 291-304. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/prbs.1992.4.3.291

Toribio, Almeida Jacqueline. 2002. “Focus on Clefts in Dominican Spanish”. In J.L. Kimberly Geeslin and C. Clements (eds.), Structure, Meaning, and Acquisition of Spanish, 130-46. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM
Copyright (c) 2015 Dunia Catalina Méndez Vallejo