Register effects and the Spanish adjectival construction sin + INF in historical corpus data


  • Aaron Yamada Creighton University


This study analyzes the usage of the Spanish adjectival sin + infinitive verb construction (un libro sin terminar ‘an unfinished book’) and the no + past participle construction (un libro no terminado ‘an unfinished book’) in historical corpus data, with the objective of quantitatively assessing Pountain’s (1993) analysis of the emergence of adjectival sin + INF as motivated in part by register formality. A logistic regression analysis finds that the usage of adjectival sin + INF over no + PP is significantly favored by the text register of Prose Fiction, and significantly disfavored by the register of Legal Texts. Furthermore, this preference increases with time in the register of Prose Fiction. These findings support Pountain’s claim, in showing that register effects significantly influence the usage of the novel construction. Ultimately, this study stresses the importance of measuring register effects in the analysis of language change in corpus data.


Spanish diachrony, adjectival sin INF, register variation, historical syntax


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