Research Article

Null Subjects in Palenquero: Do they really exist?


  • Johan De La Rosa Yacomelo Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, The Pennsylvania State University, The United States of America


This study aims to investigate whether null subjects are allowed in Palenquero, and whether its use is restricted to younger speakers. Due to its process of revitalization, and the daily contact with its lexifier (Spanish, a pro-drop language), variation and innovation are present across the board. Two groups corresponding to young and adult Spanish-Palenquero bilinguals were included in the study. A repetition task demonstrates that both groups use overt subjects and avoid null subjects at equal rates, except when they hear a simple sentence with a null subject. A translation task confirms that both groups employ null subjects; however, younger speakers are more susceptible to the priming by null subjects from Spanish than adults. Together, the results suggest that null subjects are rarely used by Palenquero speakers. They are likely to occur in contexts where the imperative form is confused with the infinitive form and in coreferential subordinate clauses.  

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

2 (4)





How to Cite

Yacomelo, J. D. L. R. (2019). Null Subjects in Palenquero: Do they really exist?. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 2(4), 190–202. Retrieved from



Null and overt subjects, language contact, creole language, language revitalization, second language acquisition