Comparative variationism for the study of language change: five centuries of competition amongst spanish deontic periphrases
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TitleComparative variationism for the study of language change: five centuries of competition amongst spanish deontic periphrases
Publisher versionhttps://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jhsl.2018.4.issue-2/jhsl-2017-0030/jhsl-2017-00 ...
Based on a corpus composed entirely of texts close to the pole of communicative immediacy, mainly private letters from the sixteenth, eighteenth and twentieth centuries (c. 1960), this paper analyses the results of a ... [+]
Based on a corpus composed entirely of texts close to the pole of communicative immediacy, mainly private letters from the sixteenth, eighteenth and twentieth centuries (c. 1960), this paper analyses the results of a variationist study on the historical evolution undergone by the Spanish modal periphrases with three distinct auxiliary verbs (haber, tener, deber). Using the heuristic tools of the comparative method, the data show that variation has been constrained by a handful of common factor groups over almost five centuries. Nonetheless, with the odd exception, these factors have conditioned each verb in a different way. Moreover, the sense of this variation changes as time goes by, with especially relevant reorganisation in the first part of the twentieth century. Furthermore, there is a notable association between these constraints and the degree of markedness and the frequency of the conditioning contexts, giving support to a usage-based approach to language change in which cognitive processes such as entrenchment play a decisive role. These data also allow a particular profile to be traced for each modal verb in the history of Spanish, in which tener and haber finally undergo a complementary distribution, whereas deber follows a different pattern. After several centuries of stagnation, tener becomes the star in the deontic firmament of spontaneous communication, diffusing abruptly as a change from below in the twentieth century, and replacing haber, which had been the unmarked variant for centuries. [-]
Investigation projectSpanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Ref. FFI2017-86194-P) ; University Jaume I (Ref. UJIB2017-01)
Bibliographic citationARROYO, José Luis Blas. Comparative variationism for the study of language change: five centuries of competition amongst Spanish deontic periphrases. Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics, 2018, 4.2: 177-219.
Copyright © 2018 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH
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