Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Spanish Syntax

Spanish syntax is similar to that of English in many ways. Both Spanish and English are SOV languages and both languages have wh-movement. However, in sentences, Spanish displays greater variety.

For example, the English sentence David isn't going to the party cannot be expressed with a different word order. In Spanish, three sentences are possible.  They are:

1) David no va a la fiesta.
2) No va David a la fiesta.
3) No va a la fiesta David.

The first sentence has the same word order as in English. In the second sentence, the subject David is placed after the verb and in the third sentence the subject David is placed after the object of the preposition party.

The basic Spanish structure is expressed in number 1. In number two we see the NP placed after the VP. More emphasis is given to the VP. In the third sentence, the NP is placed after the VP and the PP. Here the subject is demoted to sentence-final position.

Though English and Spanish both share many syntactic similarities, they also have differences. One of these differences is the word order of sentences. English often has a fixed word order in cases where Spanish allows a variety of word orders.

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