José Camacho
Department of  Spanish and Portuguese                                                                                                    
Carpender House 303 
Rutgers University 
105 George Street 
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1414 
Phone: (732) 932-9412 ex. 32 
Fax: (732) 932-9837 

Spanish Syntax

Syntactic dialectal variation.  Traditional studies of Spanish dialectology focus on the lexicon and the phonology. However, few studies have looked at issues of syntactic variation, much less from the perspective of Generative Linguistics. Within this major project, there are two separate parts. First, a systematic description of phenomena that vary across dialects. Second, an account of such variation. My work has focused on the first part, looking at the following areas:

The common theme that joins all these construction is that they exist in all varieties of Spanish, but their use is more or less restricted depending on several factors. For example, the dialectal construction va y se cae has different auxiliaries in different areas, such as agarra y se cae, coge y se cae. The interesting point is that in some of these cases, differences in auxiliary may correlate with differences in the syntax.
    The next step in my project is to try to account for dialectal variation. I am currently working on an account of the phenomena known as leismo, laismo and loismo (to appear in an Ablex volume edited by M. Amberber and P. Collins, on formal approaches to language universals and language variation). Depending on geographical area, speakers' output can vary from lo/la --> le (leismo); from le --> la, lo (laismo, loismo). I think this variation lends itself to a meaningful account within Optimality Theory.