Below, all internal seminars and wo proposed by VALIBEL research center (Valibel researchers or invited keynote speakers).

Any member of UCL is allowed to participate. If you are not a UCL membre, though the seminar is open, we ask to inform of your presence to in order to organize ourselves accordingly.


Pedro Gras - (date à préciser) - local ERAS 75

Interactional features in construction grammar(s): a case study on Spanish insubordinate quotative constructions

One of the main contributions of constructional approaches to language is to have shown that conventional pragmatic information is not only tied to (simple) discourse particles but also to complex (semi-)schematic patterns (Fillmore, 1996). In this light, the Spanish form que ‘that’ constitutes an interesting case study. In addition to its function as a subordinator marker (1), que can head a main clause (2). This behaviour is consistent with the phenomenon of insubordination (Evans, 2007), i.e., the use of typical resources of subordination in independent clauses.

(1) a. Este es el libro que te recomendé. / This is the book (that) I recommended you. 
b. Me dijo que vendría hoy. / He told me (that) he would come today.

(2) - Tienes que llamar al banco. / You have to call the bank.
- Que ya he llamado. / I have already called.

The literature has identified several meanings/functions for complement insubordinate constructions in Spanish, such as third person imperatives, optatives, evaluative modality, signaling relevant information, and quotative evidentiality, among others. This presentation will address the formal and interpretative features that give rise to quotative interpretations of complement insubordinate constructions, as in examples (3-5):

(3) - Voy a cenar.
I’m coming to dinner
- ¿Que vienes a cenar?
That you are coming to dinner?

(4) - Voy a cenar.
I’m coming to dinner.
- ¿Qué?
- Que voy a cenar.
That I’m coming to dinner.

(5) Ha llamado tu hijo. Que viene a cenar.
Your son called. That he’s coming to dinner.

Focusing on quotative interpretations, recent generative approaches (Etxepare, 2008; Rodríguez Ramalle, 2008; Demonte and Fernández Soriano, 2009) have related quotative meanings with the specific position that the initial complementizer occupies in the left periphery of the sentence. However, as I will argue, quotative interpretations only arise in specific interactional contexts. Therefore, the goal of this paper is to identify the relevant interactional and formal features that give rise to quotative interpretations of complement insubordinate constructions in Spanish.

This study is based on the analysis of manually extracted examples (aprox. 130 tokens) from the Val.Es.Co. corpus (Corpus de conversaciones coloquiales, Briz & Val.Es.Co., 2002), containing spontaneous conversations among adults from Valencia (Spain). Each occurrence is analysed taking into account grammatical (TAM, person and number, sentence modality), semantic-pragmatic (modal values, illocutionary force, connective value) and interactional factors (initial vs. mid position in the intervention, initiative vs. reactive intervention, preferred vs. dispreferred response). The results are modelled within the background of constructional-interactional approaches to grammar (Fillmore, 1989; Linell, 2009; Gras, 2011, 2012, in press; Gras & Sansiñena, 2015), which incorporate interactional information in grammatical constructions. In particular, I will argue that specific quotative interpretations (echoic, self-repetition, indirect speech) inherit part of their form-meaning from an abstract quotative construction, while at the same time need to be represented in the grammar due to its conventional interactional properties.

Briz, Antonio y grupo Val.Es.Co. (2002): Corpus de conversaciones coloquiales, Anexo de Oralia, Madrid, Arco-Libros.
DEMONTE, Violeta y FERNÁNDEZ SORIANO, Olga (2009): “Force and Finiteness in the Spanish Complementizer System”, Probus, 21.1, 23-49.
Etxepare, Ricardo (2008), “On quotative constructions in Iberian Spanish”, in LAURY, Ritva (ed.), Crosslinguistic studies of clause combining. The multifunctionality of conjuctions. Ámsterdam: John Benjamins, 35-78.
Elvira, Wendy (In prep.): The prosody of connective argumentative insubordinated clauses in Spanish. PhD dissertation, Universitat de Barcelona.
Evans, Nicholas (2007): “Insubordination and its uses”, in NIKOLAEVA, I. (ed.): Finiteness. Theoretical and Empirical Foundations, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 366-431.
Fillmore, Charles J. (1989): “Grammatical Construction Theory and the familiar dichotomies”, in DIETRICH, R. & GRAUMANN, C. F. (eds.): Language processing in social context, Amsterdam, North-Holland/Elsevier, pp. 17-38.
Gras, Pedro (2011): Gramática de Construcciones en Interacción. Propuesta de un modelo y aplicación al análisis de estructuras independientes con marcas de subordinación en español. Barcelona: Universitat de Barcelona. URL:
Gras, Pedro (2012): “Entre la gramática y el discurso: valores conectivos de que inicial átono en español”, in JACOB, Daniel; PLOOG, Katia (coords.), Autour de que. El entorno de que. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Gras, Pedro (2016): “Revisiting the functional typology of insubordination: Que-initial sentences in Spanish”, en Nicholas Evans y Honore Watanabe (eds.), Dynamics of insubordination. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Gras, Pedro & M. Sol Sansiñena (2015): “An interactional account of discourse-connective que-constructions in Spanish”, Text and Talk, 35(4): 505–529.
Linell, Per (2009): “Constructions in dialogue”, in BERGS, A. & DIEWALD, G. (eds.): Contexts and constructions, Ámsterdam, John Benjamins, pp. 97-110.
Rodrígues Ramalle, Mª Teresa (2008): “Estudio sintáctico y discursivo de algunas estructuras enunciativas y citativas del español”, Revista española de lingüística aplicada, 21, 269-288.
Roseano, Paolo et al. (In press): “La interrogación de las interrogativas parciales del catalán”, Revista española de lingüística.



You want to contribute?

Please contact