Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Guest Lecture: Prof. Scott Schwenter

The near-final say on ‘-se’

Thu, April 4, 2013 | BEN 2.104

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

“The (Near-) Final Say on –Se

Thu, April 4, 2013 • 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM • BEN 2.104

a lecture by Scott Schwenter (Associate Professor, Ohio State University)

Professor Scott Schwenter will present on the question of the Spanish subjunctive form –se. The choice between the imperfect subjunctive forms in -ra and -se is a longstanding problem in Spanish grammar that has yet to see a satisfactory explanation. In this paper, he analyzes over 4000 tokens of the imperfective subjunctive forms from three Spanish dialects in order to uncover the constraints on each, with especial attention on the use of the more infrequent variant -se. His results show that morphosyntactic persistence has the most significant effect on the variation, in that a prior -ra or -se strongly predicts another occurrence of the same form in discourse, while other, lower-level, constraints such as third person and affirmative polarity contexts also favor -se. His conclusion is that the frequency and ultimately survival of the -se form is closely linked to morphosyntactic persistence, thus providing an example from the verbal realm that parallels what has been found repeatedly for Spanish subject pronoun expression across dialects. 


Professor Scott Schwenter’s research focuses primarily on questions of Spanish and Portuguese semantics and pragmatics, specifically questions such as polarity and negation, anaphoric direct objects, additive particles, discourse markers, conditionals and particles, scalarity, and grammaticalization. He is the author of Pragmatics of Conditional Marking: Implicature, Scalarity, and Exclusivity(Garland Press, 1999) and co-author of Diccionari de Lingüística (with Manuel Pérez Saldanya et al, Colomar Editors, 1988). Professor Schwenter has published numerous articles as primary or co-author in many collections and several prestigious journals in the field, such as the Journal of Pragmatics, Language Variation and Change, Lingüística Española Actual, Journal of Historical Pragmatics, Lingua, Hispania, Linguistics, Journal of Linguistics, Oralia, Hispanic Linguistics, and Nueva Revista de Filología Hispánica.


Dr. Schwenter has taught at The Ohio State University since 2000, and has also taught as a Visiting Professor at the Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute in 2001.


* This event is sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UT Austin and organized by Professor Dale Koike.


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