Vol. 19 (2013), Artículos
The purpose of this study is to determine whether subject position in main and sub-ordinate clauses in Spanish is conditioned by the same factors. To achieve this goal, we conduct quantitative, multiple regression analyses using oral corpora of Peninsular Spanish. We restrict our analysis of subordinate clauses to time clauses. Our results show that the number of post-verbal subjects is significantly higher in time clauses than in main clauses and that, in contrast to main clauses, pragmatic factors do not significantly constrain subject position in time claus-es. We argue that these results may be attributed to the different functions that subjects play in main and time clauses. In main clauses, subjects are starting points (Chafe 1994) and have pri-mary or secondary referential importance for the subject matter of the conversation. In contrast, the function of subjects in time clauses is to help the speaker anchor the event expressed by the main clause by indicating the performer of the event with which the main clause is temporally linked. We also suggest that, in line with typological findings, the preponderance of postverbal subjects in time clauses may be the result of the more conservative character of subordinate clauses as compared to main clauses.
word order, subject position, main clauses, time clauses