Le: From pronoun to intensifier

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This paper shows a synchronic use of le in Mexican Spanish that is different from its object pronoun function. Intensifier le is a verbal affix that emphasizes the "doing" of the action indicated by the verbal base, where an erstwhile participant has become a locus for the realization of the action. Diachronically, this use results from two bleaching processes: weakening of argument status, through the decline of direct object uses (leísmo), and weakening of pronominal status, through the rise of dative duplication. The development of intensive uses represents, at least in part, a case of extension of new meanings in old contexts, rather than the more common mechanism of generalization via frequency increases to new contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-318
Number of pages34
Issue number378
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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