Aspect and the Categorization of States

The case of <i>ser</i> and <i>estar</i> in Spanish

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In this work, the Spanish copulae<i> ser</i> and<i> estar</i> are argued to be aspectual morphemes. Their binary opposition reflects the universal aspectual values [±Perfective], which are the same ones overtly expressed by the preterite and imperfect past tense forms in Spanish. It can therefore be shown that different types of states, just like different types of events, can be categorized based on their aspectual composition. Additionally, the inherent semantic differences between events and states can be accounted for by analyzing aspect as applying to events <i>internally</i> and to states <i>externally</i>. A useful resource for the beginning linguist as well as the most seasoned analyst, this work is written in language that is easy to understand while remaining faithful to all of the appropriate relevant technical terminology. Anyone who is seriously interested in exploring why the Spanish verbs<i> ser</i> and<i> estar</i> are used the way they are should read this book.

Subjects: Discourse studies; Romance linguistics; Semantics; Theoretical linguistics; Syntax

  • Affiliations: 1: Pennsylvania State University

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