Location and the estar/ser alternation

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This article is concerned with the syntactic factors that underlie the Spanish ser‘BESER’/estar ‘BEESTAR’ alternation. In line with recent studies which have arguedthat a prepositional feature is crucial to the alternation, it is argued here followingZagona (2012) that a syntactic process of Locative agreement is crucial tothe alternation: a light verb BE that agrees with either a spatial or a temporallocative constituent is spelled out as estar ‘BEESTAR’. This approach permits aunified account of copular and auxiliary estar ‘BEESTAR’. In addition, it accountsfor the fact that the stage-level effect that is often attributed to estar is not foundin contexts where the copula agrees with a predicate of spatial location.


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