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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Fall 2004


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46795 W
10:00 AM-1:00 PM
BEN 1.118

Course Description

An overview of the main structural features of Spanish is presented which emphasizes its nature as a Pro-drop language and utilizes current linguistic methodology. The topics to be covered include null/overt pronouns, determiners, impersonal and passive reflexives, wh-clauses, free subject order, and agreement, among others. Chomsky’s Principles and Parameters and Minimalist theory are applied to the description of Spanish as a language which allows unpronounced subject and object pronouns with a finite verb. The structural features of the language derive by Universal Grammar’s (UG) principles operating on the system of agreement inflections, rather than by construction-specific rules. Binding principles that define the use of unstressed pronouns account for Spanish null pronouns, which are identified by subject agreement affixes and pronominal object clitics. Inflectional affixes require Verb-movement, and this affects the form of verbal complements, in particular, clausal ones. Differences in the distribution and Case-marking of que vs. that, word-order in wh-clauses, preposition-stranding, control and obviation phenomena, Exceptional Case-marking structures, as well as the movement of pronominal clitics, follow from V-movement. The Pro-drop property is also responsible for the functional use of reflexives in passive, middle-voice and impersonal sentences, as well as for the lexical preference of the language for psych-verbs that are Dative-assigners, vg. alegrar, gustar, enojar, etc.

Grading Policy

1 (take-home) mid-term exam and 1 (single or co-authored) term paper


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