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From temporal to modal: Divergent fates of the Latin synthetic pluperfect in Spanish and Portuguese

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Abstract

This corpus-based study examines the different historical stages the Latin synthetic pluperfect underwent in Spanish and Portuguese. It tries to explain parallel and divergent developments of the morpheme <i>-ara </i>leading to opposite results: the strengthening of the form as an exclusively temporal category in Portuguese and its transformation into a fully-fledged past subjunctive in Spanish. In our analysis we will focus on three main aspects: first, the relevance of the underlying logical-conceptual structures as the enabling condition for the expansion of the category into new domains; second, the role of reanalysis as a listener-based strategy in discourse as the decisive mechanism for functional change; and third, the validity of the prototype concept as a device to explain the organisation of grammatical categories from a diachronic perspective. With our case study we address key questions of this book, namely the locus, the motivation and the nature of linguistic change.

References

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