The absence of concordance between the dative clitic and its nominal referent

  • Vanina Andrea Barbeito Universidad de Buenos Aires
  • Julieta Murata Missagh Universidad de Buenos Aires
  • Silvina Peri Universidad de Buenos Aires
Keywords: indirect object, dative pronoun, agreement, ditransitivity, referent


This paper offers an insight on the description of the syntactic agreement between the singular dative pronoun and its nominal referent in a Spanish-written corpus. In particular, we focus on the comparison of examples such as (1) Les voy a hacer un juicio a Twitter e Instagram [I’m going to sue Twitter and Instagram] and (2) No le vamos a crear problemas a los diplomáticos [We won’t create problems for diplomats], the latter demonstrating lack of agreement. The main aim of this study is to offer evidence leading to a possible semantic depletion of the dative pronoun, given the fact that the process of generalized duplication of the indirect object may provoke that the dative clitic become a certain type of objective morpheme to the verb (Company, 2006) or a legitimizer of the oblique object (Navarro, 2005), and in turn undermine its value as argument participant (Torres Cacoullos, 2005). This would lead to the lack of agreement in number between the singular dative pronoun and its plural noun referent. Given such aim, we analyze whether the le pronoun and its noun referent are coreferential, with a view to determine if the lack of agreement furnishes evidence of a weakened referential ability of the dative pronoun. This paper seeks to examine if the clitic counts as an anaphor, in such cases in which an antecedent construction in agreement exists, or as an incorporated clitic, when no such agreement with the noun phrase serving as indirect object is offered. Following the principles of this theoretical perspective, linguistic forms are described through a careful attention to the real contexts of appearance, and their analysis includes the measurement of statistical significance and the accountability of the data through objective means. Therefore, this work methodology takes on a qualitative and quantitative approach, and resorts to the collection of corpora of authentic texts hailing from the present-day Argentinian written press.


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Author Biographies

Vanina Andrea Barbeito, Universidad de Buenos Aires

Vanina Andrea Barbeito has a Bachelor of Arts (UBA) and a Teaching Diploma for Secondary and Higher Education in Letters (UBA). She is also a Journalist (TEA). She is currently a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (UBA). Her thesis topic is the pragmatic-semantic, syntactic and prosodic analysis of the appositive construction, problem that she approaches from the Cognitive - Prototypical Approach. She is Regular Adjunct Professor of the Grammar Chair in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (UBA) and director of the research project PRIG "The alternation of the dative pronoun (le / les) in ditransitive schemes: reference to the object and process of de-semantization", filed in the same institution. She is also a researcher in projects UBACyT and the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET).

Julieta Murata Missagh, Universidad de Buenos Aires

Julieta Murata Missagh has a Bachelor of Arts and a Teaching Diploma in Secondary and Higher Education in Letters (University of Buenos Aires), as well as a Technical and Public Translator in English (National University of Lanús). Since 2014, she has carried out research assistance tasks in the Chair of Grammar in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (UBA). She is a member of the PRIG project entitled "The alternance of the dative pronoun (le / les) in ditransitive schemes: reference to the object and the process of demystification". She has participated in several national and international academic events as an exhibitor, and has published research articles in the areas of grammar and sociolinguistics.

Silvina Peri, Universidad de Buenos Aires

Silvina Peri has a Bachelor of Arts (UBA) and a Teaching Diploma in Secondary and Higher Education in Letters (UBA). She is currently Assistant Lecturer in Grammar at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (UBA) and deputy director of the PRIG research project "Alternation of the dative pronoun (le / les) in ditransitive schemes: reference to the object and process of desemantization", based in the same institution. She is a teacher of the subject Reading, writing and orality in English Teaching Staff, at the Higher Institute of Teaching Dr. Joaquín V. González and of Language and Literature in institutions of average Level of the city of Buenos Aires. Her research focuses on the area of grammar and consider the theoretical framework the prototypical cognitive approach.


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How to Cite
Barbeito, V., Murata Missagh, J., & Peri, S. (2017). The absence of concordance between the dative clitic and its nominal referent. Texts in Process, 3(2), 128-143.
Working papers