Journal of Social Sciences

The Grammaticalization of the Spanish Complement-taking Verb without a Complementizer

Jiyoung Yoon

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2015.338.351

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 11, Issue 3

Pages 338-351

Abstract

This study examines authentic data samples taken from the Corpus de Referencia del Español 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.

Copyright

© 2015 Jiyoung Yoon. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.