The Grammaticalization of the Spanish Complement-taking Verb without a Complementizer Page: 338
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Original Research Paper
The Grammaticalization of the Spanish Complement-taking
Verb without a Complementizer
Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of North Texas, Denton, USA
Revised: 19-05-20 15
Abstract: This study examines authentic data samples taken from the
Corpus de Referencia del Espanol Actual (CREA) in order to uncover
any semantic trends that can be commonly observed in verbs taking a
sentential complement without the complementizer que in Spanish. In
doing so, special attention is given to the grammaticalization process
that can account for epistemic fragments in which the semantic meaning
of the verb becomes attenuated and where the main verb alone without a
complementizer functions like an adverbial phrase. Four semantic
groups of verbs with a zero complementizer are analyzed: (i) Verbs of
cognition/mental act (e.g., creer 'think'); (ii) verbs of communication
(e.g., decir 'say'); (iii) verbs of volition and desire (e.g., esperar
'hope'); and iv) verbs of emotion (e.g., temer 'fear'). These verb groups
allowing a zero complementizer show differences with respect to (i) the
subjunctive and indicative use in the embedded clause, (ii) the formal
Vs. informal registers and (iii) the use of the complement-taking verbs
as a fragment/parenthetical or an epistemic marker (in order to capture
the degree of grammaticalization). This study proposes that not all the
verbs that allow for the omission of the complementizer undergo the
same degree of grammaticalization, but the semantics of the main verb
interacting with all those factors play a role in determining the
likelihood of the omission and the possibility that the main verb can
actually be used as a floated parenthetical with a more subjective
meaning that involves a more active process of grammaticalization. It is
also shown that the degree of grammaticalization differs from verb to
verb, as well as from verb class to verb class.
Keywords: Spanish, Zero Complementizer, Grammaticalization,
Parenthetical, Epistemic Marker
"Diego knew (that) he would have the support."
Spanish is often described as a language in which a
sentential complement normally requires the presence
of the complementizer que 'that' as in (1), unlike in
English (2) in which the omission of the
complementizer that is optional:
(1) a. Diego sabia que tendria el apoyo.
"Diego knew that he would have the support."
b. *Diego sabia 0 tendria el apoyo.
(2) Diego knew (that) he would have the support.
It has been noted in literature, however, that a full
sentential complement in Spanish can appear without
a complementizer just like in English, but little is
known about the usages and patterns related to such
an omission. Brovetto (2002) proposes that the
Spanish complementizer que 'that' may be optional
when, for example, the embedded proposition conveys
a meaning of uncertainty or an irrealis meaning as
shown in (3):
c 2015 Jiyoung Yoon. This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 3.0
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Yoon, Jiyoung. The Grammaticalization of the Spanish Complement-taking Verb without a Complementizer, article, May 19, 2015; Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc990985/m1/1/: accessed January 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.