The discourse particle es que in Spanish and in other Iberian languages

Manuel Pérez-Saldanya, José Ignacio Hualde

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


We examine the historical reanalysis of the Spanish sequence es que (lit. ‘is that’) as a discourse particle with justificatory and even purely emphatic functions. We argue that the diachronic process involved first the appearance of non-coindexed pro as subject of the copula es ‘is’ and, at a later stage, deletion of the empty pronoun and syntactic restructuring. The restructuring was triggered by the use of the construction in counter-argumentative and other contexts where the semantic content of the null category was not easily recoverable. We also consider parallel developments in Catalan and Portuguese, as well as the borrowing of the particle es que in colloquial Basque.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDiscourse Particles. Syntactic, semantic, pragmatic and historical aspects
EditorsXabier Artiagoitia, Arantzazu Elordieta, Sergio Monforte
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9789027257765
StatePublished - May 2022

Publication series

NameLinguistik Aktuell
ISSN (Print)0166-0829


  • counter-argumentative
  • grammaticalization
  • justificatory
  • particle
  • reduced clefts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


Dive into the research topics of 'The discourse particle es que in Spanish and in other Iberian languages'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this