Imperfect Variation and Class Marking in the Old Spanish Third Conjugation

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This paper builds on insights first laid out in Penny’s (1972) work on Old Spanish root vowel morphology. Specifically, it examines the role that verb class had in determining Old Spanish imperfect ending (i.e., <i>-ie </i>vs. <i>-ia</i>). It draws on the knowledge that <i>-ie </i>existed in variation with etymological <i>-ia </i>during the 14th and 15th centuries (cf. Henriksen 2008; Imhoff 1996, 1998) and examines the influence that this alternation exerted on the raising of Old Spanish third conjugation root vowels. The analysis is based on data extracted from four Old Spanish texts. In section 1, I review the basic principle behind Penny’s thesis on root vowel morphology. In section 2, I provide background on the development of the Old Spanish imperfect. I present information about the current study in section 3. I organize the results in section 4 and interpret them in section 5, where I advocate for the incorporation of the Old Spanish imperfect in <i>-ie </i>within the general framework of Penny’s thesis. I conclude in section 6.


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