Cognizer Verbs and the First-Person Pronoun Yo in Contact: A Corpus Study
Jacobson, Stacey M.
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Recent research has investigated the optionality of first-person singular subject pronoun usage in pro-drop languages, where the morphology of the language encodes enough information to allow speakers to choose to include the pronoun (overt subject usage) or omit it (null subject usage), referencing the idea that the subject pronoun still exists in the syntax of the sentence, regardless of its expression. Previous studies have shown significant differences in overt and null subject usage in Peninsular Spanish (Posio 2011) and between Peninsular Spanish and Portuguese (Posio 2013). However, few studies have utilized bilingual speakers, nor have multiple Spanish-speaking countries been investigated. The present study analyzed data from two corpora (Spanish in Texas and PRESEEA) to investigate the use of these first-person singular subjects in a bilingual community in the US compared to Spanish-speaking countries. Four Cognizer verbs were analyzed (Posio 2011): creer [to believe], pensar [to think], entender [to understand], and recordar [to remember]. Significant differences between overt and null subjects were found within and between the two corpora, and between some of the verbs investigated. The bilingual community was also significantly different from the nearest available Spanish-speaking city. Effects of contact with English and differences between Spanish-speaking countries are discussed.