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Diachronic prototypicity and stativity in Spanish physical affection verbs

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Abstract

This paper shows a diachronic research about the aspectual nature of the verbs doler [to hurt], picar [to itch], arder [to burn], escocer [to sting] and hormiguear [to tingle]. Special attention is paid to physical affection meanings (to suffer or experience pain, itch, burning, stinging and tingling in some part of the body), which basically denote a stative aspectual value. The priority aim of this research is to prove that, throughout the diachrony of the Spanish language, these verbs have traveled between staticity and dynamism, which permits to establish a prototypicity scale within the class of transitory, uncontrolled states where these verbs belong. The existing theoretical proposals about state predicates are considered, and a diachronic-corpus-based is utilized in order to achieve this aim. Our findings suggest that the aspectual continuum results from the combination of three elements: the lexico-semantic characteristics of the verb; the syntactic contexts where it is inserted; and the pragmatic conditions perceived by the person who experiences the affection denoted by the predicate. This union is projected in the different ways to conceptualize transitory, uncontrolled states, and it highlights that, despite being the prototypical physical affection state verb in Spain, doler [to hurt] is the one which presents a higher degree of dynamism because it appears in a greater number of dynamic contexts.

References

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