Article published in:Inquiries in Hispanic Linguistics: From theory to empirical evidence
Edited by Alejandro Cuza, Lori Czerwionka and Daniel Olson
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 12] 2016
► pp. 21–38
Towards a theory of pronominal verb constructions in Spanish
This paper proposes a unified account of three types of constructions in which the
se clitic appears, which are dubbed pronominal verb constructions (PVCs) . unaccusatives like acatarrar-se (get sick), unergatives like quejar-se (complain) and transitives like zampar-se algo (to wolf something down). The main claims are (i) that the verbs in question represent classes that are specified to select a “defective” head (= a head that does not introduce a theta role and/or assign case) in their predicate-argument argument structure and (ii) Spanish marks such defective heads as [ϕ], a diacritic that triggers insertion of se post-syntactically at T. The different classes of PVCs are derived from the type of defective head that is selected, Voice[ϕ] in the case of intransitives and P[ϕ] in the case of transitives.
Keywords: Pronominal verbs, Argument structure, Agreement
Published online: 01 November 2016
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