Spanish and Portuguese ETDs


Jenny Dumont

Publication Date



This dissertation investigates the grammar of noun phrases as produced in two genres (spontaneous conversations and Pear Film narratives) of spoken Ecuadorian Spanish. As speakers converse and narrate, they make choices about what form (full NP, pronoun, unexpressed) to use for a noun in a particular context, how to best modify that noun (choice of article and other determiners) and what syntactic role to use; this is a study of the different factors that motivate those decisions. The patterns of use described here show that noun phrase grammar is shaped by the need to track referents and also by a variety of other dialogic interactional needs. On the one hand, speakers must manage the flow of information in a way that communicates what information is new or old, whether or not referents are presumed to be shared or not, and which NPs represent entities (referential NPs) and which perform other discourse functions (non-referential NPs). The grammar of a NP shows the routinized coding of these factors. On the other hand, during the course of a conversation, speakers are also navigating the interactional dimensions of communication, such as turn-taking, expressing stance and attitude, agreeing and disagreeing. The grammar of an NP is also influenced by these interactional factors. It is through the comparison of two genres that a fuller understanding of these different and sometimes competing motivations and their grammatical consequences is achieved.

Degree Name

Spanish & Portuguese (PhD)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

Croft, William

Second Committee Member

Thompson, Sandra

Third Committee Member

Torres Cacoullos, Rena




Spanish language--Noun phrase, Spanish language--Ecuador

Document Type