Un análisis cognitivo-funcional de la concordancia verbal con construcciones (pseudo)partitivas del tipo [N1 + de + N2]
In this paper we present a corpus-based, cognitive-linguistic account of the singular/plural agreement alternation with binominal constructions belonging to the [N1singular + de + N2plural]-type. From a syntagmatic point of view, plural agreement reflects a shift from N1 as the head of the Noun Phrase towards N1 being a quantifier to N2. This view is in line with grammaticalization theory and holds for many examples, yet there are important counterexamples where we find a singular verb despite N1 being used as a quantifier. The Hispanic linguistic literature mentions several factors that would favor plural agreement with N2 such as an indefinite article, the distance between the verb and the subject, the position of the subject and pseudopartitive rather than partitive use. The corpus analysis will show that these factors are not conclusive. Our alternative account has recourse to the concept of lexical persistence and shows to what extent the quantifier use of N1 retains semantic features associated with the head use of N1. We argue that verbal agreement phenomena can be motivated by the interaction between lexical persistence and the morpho-syntactic and semantic criteria listed in literature. Lexical persistence is thus not a side effect of the grammaticalization process, but a crucial dimension of binominal constructions in that it allows us to explain quantifier uses of N1 with a singular verb.
Keywords: lexical persistence, agreement in Spanish, grammaticalization, binominal constructions
Published online: 30 November 2012
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