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Cuadernos de Lingüística de El Colegio de México

versión On-line ISSN 2007-736X


MERINO HERNANDEZ, Laura Margarita. Pragmatic and semantic conditioning of the middle marker se in the verb morirse ‘to die’. Cuad. Lingüíst. Col. Méx. [online]. 2019, vol.6, n.1, e81.  Epub 18-Feb-2020. ISSN 2007-736X.

This article contributes to the line of studies that have analyzed the pronoun se in specific lexical items such as subirse, irse, bajarse, among many others. From a variationist perspective, this article gives qualitative and quantitative evidence for the pragmatic, semantic, and social factors that condition the use of se in the intransitive verb morirse in the Spanish of Monterrey and Mexico City. The effect that the frequency of certain constructions has on the pronominalization of this verb is also analyzed. It is concluded that the pronominal form is the unmarked form which goes against other studies on pronominal verbs such as salirse (Aaron 2003; Aaron & Torres Cacoullos 2005). The speaker’s involvement in the discourse, the use of the verb in figurative speech, a natural death, and an emotional distancing from the event are the factors that better predict the use of the pronominal form. Moreover, a usage-based analysis reveals that in some cases morir(se) appears invariably in fixed constructions, which shows that at least for such cases the se has incorporated to the lexical unit, and morirse is analyzed as one constituent, fact that is also corroborated in other verbs such as subirse and bajarse (Torres Cacoullos & Schwenter 2008).

Palabras llave : middle marker se; morirse; pronominal verbs; fixed expressions.

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