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Cuadernos de Lingüística de El Colegio de México

versión On-line ISSN 2007-736X


GRANVIK, Anton. Nominal complement clauses in Spanish and Portuguese: infinitival clauses or finite clauses?. Cuad. Lingüíst. Col. Méx. [online]. 2017, vol.4, n.1, pp.103-180. ISSN 2007-736X.

This paper focuses on two types of nominal complement clauses, namely finite (el hecho de que vaya 'the fact that s/he goes') and infinitival complements (el hecho de ir 'the fact of going'). The aim is to determine whether the two complement types are "functionally identical" (cf. Bogard & Company 1989). The analysis of two samples of 37 and 56 Portuguese and Spanish nouns, which are frequently combined with both kinds of complement clauses, reveals clear differences between both noun classes and the usage context of the two types of complement clauses. Finite complements are preferred by mental and linguistic nouns, such as certeza 'certainty' and noticia 'news'. These nouns are also associated with the indicative mood in the subordinate clause. The nouns preferring the infinitive, on the other hand, are often modal (e.g. necesidad ), and are associated with the subjunctive mood. Only nouns with mainly factual uses (e.g. facto and hecho 'fact') are frequently combined with both complement types. It is thus concluded that the finite and infinitive clausal complements are not functionally identical. In addition, historically there seems to be a shift towards more finite complements. That is, the infinitival complements are found to predominate in terms of usage frequency in the 16th to 18th centuries, whereas the finite clause complements become increasingly frequent in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Palabras llave : nominal complement clauses; infinitive; diachronic distinctive collexeme analysis; Spanish and Portuguese comparative syntax; corpus linguistics.

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