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Inter-generational contact and variation in agreement in Afro-Bolivian Spanish DPs


Inter-generational contact and variation in agreement in Afro-Bolivian Spanish DPs Bangor University 10 January 2011 Manuel Delicado-Cantero Australian National ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Inter-generational contact and variation in agreement in Afro-Bolivian Spanish DPs

Inter-generational contact and variation in
agreement in Afro-Bolivian Spanish DPs
  • Bangor University
  • 10 January 2011

Manuel Delicado-Cantero Australian National
University ESRC Centre for Research on
Bilingualism, Bangor University manuel.delicado_at_an
Sandro Sessarego The Ohio State
  • Introduction
  • Socio-historical overview
  • Afro-Bolivian Determiner Phrase features
  • A Formal Analysis to account for Number Agreement
    Variation in the DP
  • Conclusions

  • This study evaluates variation in the number
    agreement system of Afro-Bolivian Spanish, an
    Afro vernacular dialect deriving from what was
    once a Spanish bozal (black slaves from Africa
    and their descendants) language spoken in Los
    Yungas, Department of La Paz, Bolivia.
  • Results indicate a case of cross-generational
    change, consisting of the systematic substitution
    of stigmatized basilectal Afro-Bolivian features
    with more prestigious High Bolivian Spanish ones.
    One of the outcomes of this situation is the
    transition from one number agreement system to
    another (and the consequent mix).
  • Our purpose is to shed light on the linguistic
    constraints regulating number agreement and
    propose a theoretical framework capable of
    accounting for the variation encountered.
  • Intra-speaker variation becomes the core in the
    research, thus reclaiming previously disregarded
    phenomena i.e., previously considered as
    E-language phenomena (Adger and Trousdale 2007).

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Socio-historical overview
  • Afro-Bolivian Spanish is supposed to be the
    oldest surviving Afro-Hispanic dialect in Latin
  • Its speakers are believed to be the descendents
    of African slaves taken to the New World to work
    in Potosí silver mines during the 16th century.
  • Africans started being used as slaves presumably
    around the 18th century in Los Yungas, tropical
    valleys in which they did agricultural work
    (Crespo 1976, Lipski 2006, 2008).

Socio-historical overview
  • Slavery was formally abolished in Bolivia in
    1826, reestablished in 1830, and abolished again
    in 1831.
  • However, until 1952, when the Land Reform took
    place, Afro-Bolivians continued to be employed in
    Los Yungas as slaves in haciendas.

Socio-historical overview
  • The most important North Yungas communities
    containing high concentrations of Afro-Bolivians
    are Tocaña, Mururata, Chijchipa, Coscoma, Dorado
    Chico and Khala Khala.
  • In South Yungas the principal black community is
  • Both areas are mainly inhabited by
    Aymara-speaking indigenous population.

Socio-historical overview
  • Black Yungueños in South Yungas have frequently
    intermarried with Aymaras, speak Aymara and wear
    traditional Aymara clothing. As a result, in this
    area only a few of the traditional dialect
    features remain.
  • On the other hand, in North Yungas communities,
    Afro-Bolivians remain linguistically and
    culturally separate from Aymaras Afro-Hispanic
    speech still survives and is used as intra-group
    language between the members of the community.

Socio-historical overview
  • Typically, until 1952 black workers were not
    allowed to attend school.
  • However, after that date, the hacienda system
    ended and basic public education began to arrive
    in Afro-Yungueño communities.
  • The study of Spanish at schools, the possibility
    of traveling outside of Yungas, and the
    stigmatization attached to ABS resulted in a
    gradual drop of the traditional dialect by
  • As a consequence, some features of this
    vernacular have gradually been displaced by
    Highland Bolivian Spanish (HBS) ones.

ABS DP features
  • Lipski (2006) points out features of ABS DP,
  • (a) lack of noun-adjective gender agreement
  • 1. La fiesta muy bonito
    HBS bonita
  • very
  • The very nice party
  • (b) invariant plurals
  • 2. 100 mandarina
    HBS 100 mandarinas
  • 100 mandarin.Ø
  • 100 mandarins
  • (c) extra invariant plural definite article lu
  • 3. Lu taza
    HBS las tazas
  • The-pl cup.Ø
  • The cups

Number variation inside the DP
  • (d) frequently, the retention of plural /s/ only
    on the first element of plural DPs
  • 4. Mis abuelo
    HBS mis abuelos
  • grandparent.Ø
  • My grandparents
  • 5. Las cosa
    HBS las cosas
  • thing.Ø
  • The things

ABS DP features
  • Lipski (2006) argues that DP features (gender,
    number) percolate up from the noun to the
    determiner (Grimshaw 1991 1997) and eventually
    to the post-nominal element.
  • Cross-generationally, no case of post-nominal
    gender concord is found unless pre-nominal
    elements agree (Lipski 2006 35)
  • 6. un curva ancha HBS una
    curva ancha
  • a.Ø
  • a large curve(Lipski 2006)

Our Data
  • 944 tokens were extracted from a corpus of
    recorded interviews with the eldest speakers in
    the communities of Tocaña and Mururata, North
  • The interviews were conducted by letting the
    speakers talk about any topic of their choice
    plus follow-up questions
  • In line with the principle of Tangential Shift
    (Labov 198437), the goal was therefore to
    attempt to reduce the Observers Paradox (Labov
    1972) as much as possible.

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Table 1
Grammatical status Percentage of deletion
Inflection 64 (N532)
Non-inflectional 30 (N412)
  • Functional Hypothesis (Kiparsky 1972 195)
    phonological elements loaded with a morphological
    plural value (e.g. casa-s house-s) should be
    more resistant to deletion.
  • However, our data show that the opposite is true
    for ABS

Syntax matters
  • Our results indicate that the rate of s
    omission is higher for inflectional instances
    of s (see Table 1)
  • Strictly phonological factors are playing only a
    limited role.
  • Supported by the occurrence of plural forms like
    lu dictador los dictadores the dictators, lu
    varón los varones the males without the e of
    the Spanish plural morpheme.
  • ABS s plural marking variation is syntactic
    rather than phonological.

Table 2
Grammatical category Grammatical category
Adjective .65
Noun .55
Determiner .38
Table 2. Contribution of Grammatical Category to
the Omission of Plural (s) (Log likelihood
-287.688, Significance 0.007, N944) Results
agree with Lipskys works more omission for
adjectives than for Ds
ABS DP features
  • Our data are in line with Lipskis, but some
    cases seem to contradict the pre-nominal to
    post-nominal percolation order.
  • ?Number/gender disagreement on strong quantifiers
  • (despite highest position in the clause)
  • 7. Todo las cosa bonita HBS todas
    las cosas bonitas
  • all.Ø thing.fem.Ø
  • all the nice things

A new approach
  • Percolation cannot account for the data
  • Formal analysis of variation based on feature
    presence/absence (Adger Smith 2005, Adger
    Trousdale 2007)
  • Minimalist program approach to agreement

A formal analysis
  • In the minimalist framework, agreement is
    conceived as the result of valuation processes.
  • Number agreement involves the transmission or
    sharing of features with (normally) nominal
    origin to other lexical items (adjectives) or to
    functional elements (determiners, quantifiers),
    thus accounting for internal concord/agreement in
    the DP (Chomsky 2000, 2001, 2004 Frampton
    Gutmann 2000 Carstens 2000)

Features in a formal analysis
  • The Minimalist Program distinguishes between
    interpretable and uninterpretable features
  • Interpretable features have an interpretation at
    LF or SEM (e.g. tense on V). Really
  • Uninterpretable features lack semantic import and
    are present to trigger the necessary merger or
    agreement operations during the derivation (e.g.
    number on A) Redundant

Features in a formal analysis
  • The Minimalist Program distinguishes between
    valued and unvalued features
  • Valued features are those that possess a value of
    the feature
  • Unvalued features are those which await valuation

  • Operation Agree
  • A probe lacking feature specification searches
    for a local i.e. c-commanded goal (inside its
    domain) to undergo agreement
  • (Chomsky 2000 101, 134 Chomsky 2001 12, 15)
  • Valuation/Interpretability biconditional (Chomsky
  • 1. Uninterpretable features are unvalued
  • 2. Interpretable features are valued
  • Therefore,
  • 3. Uninterpretable features must be valued and

Feature sharing and multiple Agree
  • Feature sharing (Frampton and Gutmann 2000
    Pesetsky and Torrego 2004, 2007)
  • Multiple Agree (Hiraiwa 2001, Carstens 2001,
    Chomsky 2008 142)
  • Necessary to account for multiple expression of a
    feature inside the DP (as is the norm in Romance,
    for instance)
  • Agree (Pesetsky and Torrego 20074) valued vs.
  • (i) An unvalued feature F (a probe) on a head H
    at syntactic location ? (F?) scans its c-command
    domain for another instance of F (a goal) at
    location ? (F?) with which to agree.
  • (ii) Replace F? with F?, so that the same
    feature is present in both locations.

Valuation process
  • Unvalued PROBE
  • Valued GOAL
  • Matching feature present
  • PROBE c-commands GOAL
  • Result same feature in both categories

Possible feature specifications
  • uF uninterpretable, unvalued feature
  • iF interpretable, unvalued feature
  • uF val uninterpretable, valued feature
  • iF val interpretable, valued feature

Number features
  • Number agreement involves uninterpretable
    features of all items except for Num. Num carries
    an interpretable feature num (Picallo 2008,
    Pesetsky Torrego 2007).
  • Nouns carry an uninterpretable valued feature for
    number unum pl (Picallo 2008 59 cf.
    Zamparelli 2008 for number features)
  • Determiners and adjectives bear an
    uninterpretable feature for number unum ,
    which is valued after probing and matching the
    feature on N.
  • Unvalued features probe for valued features to
    agree with (only unvalued Fs can be probes
    (Pesetsky Torrego 2004/2007, Picallo 2008))

Formal syntactic variation
  • Adger Smith (2005)
  • Certain uninterpretable features may be variably
    present in one category but absent in another.
  • Being uninterpretable, they would have no
    semantic repercussion, thus being equally
    legitimate for a convergent derivation with
    different phonological outcomes
  • Variation is reduced to the specification of the
    uninterpretable features in a derivation (Adger
    Smith 2005 161)
  • Underspecification of uninterpretable features
  • ? no-F
  • Complies with Brodys (1997) Radical

Sociolinguistic factors
  • Several (social) factors may affect the item
  • ease of lexical access (probably linked to
    frequency of use)
  • speaker-hearer relationships
  • social identity, etc.
  • (Adger Smith 2005 164)

A preview of the analysis
  • Certain uninterpretable features may be present
    in a certain entry but absent in another
  • 8. Unos amigos
  • uFval. uFval
  • 9. Unos amigo.Ø
  • uFval. no-F

  • 10.
  • a. DP lus NumP guaguas
  • unumplinumpl...unumpl
  • b. DP lus NumP guaguas joven
  • c. DP lus NumP guagua joven
  • unumpl
  • The young kids (adapted from Lipski 2008 93)

Crosslinguistic evidence
  • Other languages show impoverished agreement in DP
  • Amele (Corbett 2000 137)
  • 11. a. Dana (uqa) hoia
  • man
  • The man came
  • b. Dana (ale) hosia
  • man 3.dual came.dual
  • The two men came
  • c. Dana (age) hoiga
  • man
  • The men came

Other cases
  • Brazilian Portuguese (Braga 1977, Scherre Naro
    1998, 2006 Magalhães 2004 Simioni 2007, among
  • Colloquial French (Rowlett 2007 19-20) loss of
  • Cape Verdean Creole (Baptista 2007)

Locating inum pl
  • Several recent works point to the
    interpretability of num on D
  • 1. Magalhães (2004) BP
  • 2. Carvalho (2006) Uruguayan Spanish in contact
    with Portuguese
  • Support
  • Abney (1987) DET as I
  • Olsen (1989) German D carries all phi-features
  • Longobardi (1994) num on D, not on N

Interpretable num on Num vs. N
  • NumP (Ritter 1991, 1995 Picallo 2008)
  • Hypothesis for variation
  • 1. Full redundancy inum on Num valued on
  • 2. Only D inum on Num, no-F on N
    N-to-n-to-Num, feature valued on D after
  • Variation is located only on the featural content
    of lexical categories (as expected for variation
    and change)
  • Partial valuation due to defective (i.e.,
    missing) phi-feature (Bejar 2003 61)
  • Ortmanns (2000) Principle of economic plural

Variation in ABS DPs
  • 10.
  • a. DP lus NumP NP guaguas
  • unumplinumpl...unumpl
  • b. DP lus NumP NP guaguas joven
  • c. DP lus NumP NP guagua
  • unumplinum
  • The young kids (adapted from Lipski 2008 93)
  • Feature pl (Zamparelli 2008)

Full agreement
Full agreement
  • Analysis based on Bernstein (1993), Picallo
    (2008) num on Num
  • Pesetsky Torrego (2007) suggest that inum
    may actually be always located in Num in Spanish
  • No inum on N in Spanish
  • Carstens (2001 154) N-to-n-to-Num, but not for
    morphological reasons (no strong feature
    movement cf. Alexiadou 2001)
  • Postnominal APs are located following Demonte
    (2008 25, 27)
  • Agreement between APs and N ?feature sharing
    Num-A-N (Danon 2008)

Overt marking on D only
Overt marking on D only
  • Num carries valued inum from Lexical
    Array/Numeration (Picallo 2008)
  • N movement forced by N-feature on n and Num (EPP
    or categorial F cf. Alexiadou 2001 223)
  • Absence of num on A and N eliminates probing
  • num feature is overtly marked on D as affix
    (materialization of pl in Spanish in the
    morphology component). No relevant lexical item
    in Num for any s to materialize (N is not
    eligible defective, underspecified for num).
  • Feature interpreted once in the chain, as needed
    (Brody 1997)

Restrictions on variation
  • Why not?
  • 12. DP el NP guaguas jóvenes
  • No-num pl
  • Ds always c-command Num and thus, carrying
    uninterpretable unvalued num, probe for a goal
    for agreement. Num carries the necessary features
    for agreement.
  • Adjectives lower in the tree will require valued
    features on N to be able to agree with N (via FS)

Lack of plural on Qs
  • Qs project above DP, and thus are not Ds
    (NP-based analysis of Qs also accounts for lack
    of agreement like As)
  • They do not carry specification for num, like
  • 13 QP todo DP lus NumP guagua
  • no-num.. unumpl.
  • all.Ø
    boy.Ø young.Ø
  • All the young boys
  • In keeping with Ortmanns (2000) Principle of
    economic plural marking

Semantic number marking
  • Numerals such as tres (three) carry inherent
    plural features, thus licensing number on
    semantic grounds. Maybe also for strong
    quantifiers such as mucho/todo.
  • Crosslinguistic evidence Hungarian, Archi
    (Caucasus), Kurdish, Huanca Quechua, etc. (cf.
    Ortmann 2000 252-3)

  • Difference in feature content in the items in the
    syntactic derivation account for variation
  • Different phonological outputs correspond with
    one semantic interpretation
  • Variation (like change) is located in the
    features (cf. Lightfoot 2006, Roberts 2007 for
  • Intra-speaker variation can be formalized
  • Variation within the same community and even the
    same speaker (dialect mixing)
  • Our findings do not pretend to be categorical.
    Variation is a component of human languages, and
    our results confirm this fact.

Selected references
  • Adger, D. J. Smith. 2005. Variation and the
    Minimalist Programme. In Syntax and variation
    Reconciling the biological and the social.
    Cornips, L. K. P. Corrigan (eds.)
    Amsterdam/Philadelphia John Benjamins. 149-178.
  • Adger, D. G. Trousdale. 2007. Variation in
    English Syntax Theoretical Implications. English
    Language and Linguistics 11261-278.
  • Alexiadou, A. 2001. Adjective syntax and noun
    raising Word order asymmetries in the DP as the
    result of adjective distribution. Studia
    Linguistica 55.3 217-248.
  • Carstens, V. 2000. Concord in Minimalist Theory.
    Linguistic Inquiry 31.2 319-355.
  • Carstens, V. 2001. Multiple Agreement and
    Case-Deletion Against F-(In)Completeness. Syntax
    4 147-163.
  • Chomsky, N. 2000. Minimalist Inquiries The
    Framework. In Step by Step Essays on Minimalist
    Syntax in honor of Howard Lasnik. Martin, R., D.
    Michaels and J. Uriagereka (eds). Cambridge,
    Mass MIT Press.
  • Chomsky, N. 2001. Derivation by phase. In Ken
    Hale A life in language. Kenstowicz, M. (ed.),
    Cambridge, Mass MIT Press. 1-52.
  • Chomsky, N. 2004. Beyond Explanatory Adequacy. In
    Structures and Beyond. The Cartography of
    Syntactic Structure Vol 3. Belletti, A. (ed).
    Oxford OUP. 104-131.
  • Chomsky, N. 2008. On phases. In Foundational
    Issues in Linguistic Theory Essays in Honor of
    Jean-Roger Vergnaud. Freidin, R., C. Otero and
    M-L. Zubzarreta (eds). Cambridge, Mass MIT
    Press. 133-166.
  • Danon, Gabi. 2008. Definiteness spreading in the
    Hebrew construct state. Lingua 118.7 872-906.
  • Demonte, V. 2008. Meaning-form correlations and
    adjective position in Spanish. Ms.
  • Frampton, J. S. Gutmann. 2000. Agreement is
    Feature Sharing, ms. Available at
  • Lipski, J. 2006. El dialecto afroyungueño de
    Bolivia en busca de las raíces del habla
    afrohispánica. RILI 3.2 137-166.
  • Lipski, J. 2008. Afro-Bolivian Spanish.
    Madrid/Frankfurt Iberoamericana/Vervuert.
  • Ortmann, Albert. 2000. Where plural refuses to
    agree feature unification end morphological
    economy. Acta Linguistica Hungarica 47. 1-4
  • Pesetsky, D. E. Torrego. 2004. The syntax of
    valuation and the interpretability of features.
  • Pesetsky, D. E. Torrego. 2007. The syntax of
    valuation and the interpretability of features.
    The syntax of valuation and the interpretability
    of features. In Phrasal and Clausal Architecture
    Syntactic derivation and interpretation. Karime,
    S. et al. (eds.). Amsterdam-Philadelphia. John
    Benjamins. 262-294.
  • Picallo, M. C. 2008. Gender and number in
    Romance. Lingue e linguaggio VII.1 47-66.
  • Poplack, S. 1979. Function and process in a
    variable phonology. Ph.D dissertation, University
    of Pennsylvania.