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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Contemporary usage of the Spanish relative pronouns Munro, John Robert

Abstract

Problem: The purpose in undertaking this study was to determine more exactly the contemporary usage of the Spanish relative pronouns, thus making it possible (1) to supplement existing descriptions of the usage of the relative pronouns, and (2) to restate contemporary usage. Method: For this study, representative works of the best contemporary Spanish and Spanish-American authors were used, employing Keniston's sampling technique. Three passages of ten pages each were selected from the beginning, the middle, and the end of the work in question. All examples found were recorded individually for analysis, thus making possible a study of a much larger number of actual examples than are available from the Keniston study. Conclusion: A. The following findings which have been established in this thesis in some cases supplement existing descriptions by the authorities and in others, are at variance with them. 1. Que is not frequently replaced after con by el cual to avoid confusion with conque. 2. Que does not necessarily follow its antecedent immediately. In fifteen per cent of all cases observed que was removed from its antecedent in such a way that determination of its antecedent was difficult. 3. Que does on rare occasions as object of a preposition refer to a person. 4. Quien is frequently used to distinguish a person from a thing, as antecedent. 5. Quien as a substantive refers more frequently to indefinite persons than el que. 6. Quien as a substantive is used almost exclusively after como (meaning "as one who"). 7. El que, as well as el cual, is regularly removed from its antecedent by a comma (or similar punctuation, and/or one or more words.) B. Restatement of Contemporary Usage. 1. In a restrictive clause: a. The subject is regularly que for persons and things. b. The object is usually que for persons and things. Quien is used with "personal a". Al cual and al que are rarely so used. 2. In a non-restrictive clause: a. The subject is usually que for persons and things, but may be quien, el cual, and to a lesser extent, el que. b. The object is usually que for persons and things; quien is used frequently with "personal a"; al cual or al que, rarely. 3. Object of a (exclusive of "personal a"), en, de and con: a. Referring to persons, quien, el cual or el que are used. In non-restrictive clauses quien is most frequently used. b. Referring to things, que, el cual or el que are used. Que is normal in restrictive clauses; que, el cual or el que in non-restrictive. 4. Object of por, sin and tras: a. El cual or el que are used; possibly, quien. 5. Object of dissyllabic prepositions: a. El cual or el que are normally used. 6. Object of compound preposition: a. El cual is normally used; el que, rarely. NOTE: Where there are choices in the usage indicated throughout Section B to this point, variety, rhythm and euphony are considerations. However, the choice of quien, el cual and el que to avoid ambiguity must be particularly borne in mind. 7. Lo cual and lo que as restrictive and non-restrictive relatives: a. After monosyllabic prepositions both are used. b. After dissyllabic and compound prepositions, only lo cual is used. 8. Quien and el que as substantive relatives: a. As object of a preposition, quien and el que are both used, the latter more frequently. b. Referring to indefinite persons, quien is used more frequently. c. Referring to definite persons, el que is used more frequently. d. After como (meaning "as one who") quien is used.

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