The Grammaticalization of the Spanish Complement-taking Verb without a Complementizer Page: 340
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Jiyoung Yoon / Journal of Social Sciences 2015, 11 (3): 338.351
for I think) rather than as a main verb governing an
embedded sentence as its direct object complement
(7) I can't even believe 0 I just said that.
(example taken from the Quebec English Corpus in
Poplack et al., 2006)
Although primary attention has been drawn mainly to
verbs of cognition or mental act, some other frequency-
based approaches (Poplack et al., 2006) also identify
main-clause verb types in the complementizer
construction. They found that think, know and say
account for 63% of all the data while guess, tell,
remember, find and realize account for 19%.
Interestingly enough, however, their findings suggest
that there is no correlation between token frequency
and the rate of that (Vs. zero complementizer). In other
words, frequency is not necessarily a decisive factor
that triggers more use of the zero complementizer with
those verb types (see discussions in Gonzilvez-Garcia
(2014) for arguments against a fragment analysis in
support of the lack of correlation between frequency
and zero complementizer).
On the other hand, multivariate analyses of factors
favoring the zero complement tackle all the possible
factors (in addition to the semantics of the matrix verbs)
that can contribute to the grammaticalization process in
which the omission of the complementizer occurs
(Torres-Cacoullos and Walker, 2011). Some of the
common factors contributing to the omission of the
complementizer are, for example, (i) matrix clause
subjects such as I or you; (ii) a co-referential pronoun
between the complement clause and the matrix clause
subject (e.g., I think I got it right) (Posio (2011; 2013;
2014) for the detailed discussions about the expression
of the first (and the second) person singular subject
pronouns in Spanish in relation to verb semantics and
grammaticalization); (iii) the absence of intervening
elements between the matrix and complement clause
(e.g., I remember my mother used to [...] Vs. I remember
on Sunday, my mother used to [...]); and, iv) the absence
of main-clause adverbials (e.g., I still think 0 he is
innocent Vs. I think 0 he is innocent). Based on their
findings, Torres-Cacoullos and Walker (2011) suggest
that the omission of the complementizer that occurs
when there is less semantic content in the main clause
and the two clauses (main and embedded) together act
more like a single proposition.
Given that I have presented some of the approaches
to the zero complementizer phenomenton in English in
relation to grammaticalization, frequency and variable
analyses, in the next section, I will focus on the omission
of the complementzier que in Spanish and its
differences-and similarities-with what has been
discussed in some of these previous studies.
Omission of the Complementizer que in
It has been noted that there are some differences
between the zero complementation in Spanish and
English (Llinis-Grau and Fernindez-Sinchez, 2011). In
Spanish, some researchers mention that it is normally the
subjunctive mood of the embedded clause that allows
que to be omitted (Brovetto, 2002; Llinis-Grau and
(8) Deseamos (que) tenga usted una
we wish (that) have-SUBJ you a
"We wish you a nice stay"
(example  from Llinis-Grau
But at the same time, there has been an observation
that the omission of que can occur if the indicative mood
of the embedded clause conveys an irrealis meaning in
the form of conditional or future tenses (Brovetto, 2002):
(9) Dijo (que) llegaria tarde a la
he-said (that) he-arrive-IND-Cond. late to the
"He said (that) (he) would be late to the meeting."
(example [3b] taken from Brovetto (2002))
Brovetto (2002) hypothesizes that one can then
expect to find the omission of que with verbs in the
complement clause in the subjunctive mood rather
than in the indicative mood (although the omission
may be still possible in some cases) because the
subjunctive mood is associated with unreality or
possibility. Interestingly, she notes that the absence of
que is not usually possible with verbs of utterance
such as decir 'say' or with factive verbs such as
confesar 'confess', admitir 'admit' and jurar 'swear'
if the embedded clause denotes a realis meaning, but
she also mentions that with these types of verbs, the
omission can occur if the indicative mood of the
embedded clause conveys an irrealis meaning as in (9).
As will be observed in the following section,
however, many examples found in the CREA corpus
show that it is not necessarily the subjunctive mood,
or the irrealis meaning conveyed by the indicative
mood, that triggers the omission of the
complementizer in Spanish:
Here’s what’s next.
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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/m1/3/: accessed January 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.