Differential object marking in monolingual and bilingual Spanish

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


While differential object marking (DOM) is productive in Spanish, Portuguese does not have a DOM system, except for limited cases. DOM is variable in Spanish, where the presence of accusative a is conditioned by linguistic factors such as animacy, definiteness, and specificity of the object. This chapter explores DOM variation in monolingual Spanish in Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital, and the variety spoken by Spanish-Portuguese bilinguals in Rivera, a town on the Uruguayan-Brazilian border. Based on comparative sociolinguistics, it analyzes the extent to which Portuguese-Spanish bilinguals replicate or differ from the Spanish monolingual patterns. The comparison of overall frequency, factor group rankings, and constraint rankings shows that bilinguals do not diverge from monolinguals due to Portuguese, since both dialects share similar probabilistic factors constraining a-marking in all contexts. This study brings counter evidence to the generalized assumption that contact-induced linguistic change is often the result of prolonged contact between cognate languages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Variationist Approaches to Spanish
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780429577956
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Bilingualism
  • Comparative sociolinguistics
  • Differential object marking
  • Language contact
  • Portuguese

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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