1887
Volume 34, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
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Abstract

The history of Spanish modal constructions has been widely discussed in the literature, focusing primarily on the semantic differences between the available alternatives. This paper offers an innovative analysis of the evolution of these constructions by adopting a diachronic variationist approach that takes into account a wider range of semantic, syntactic, morphological and stylistic factors that influence the choice between the competing modal periphrases during two key stages in the evolution of Spanish. The data is drawn from a diachronic corpus of personal correspondence, reflecting actual language usage during the respective periods as closely as possible. Particular attention is paid to the question of whether the influence of different factor groups remains stable over time or not, and it is shown that the most frequent form – context pairings are particularly resistant to innovation. This can be explained by cognitive entrenchment of the respective variant in specific linguistic environments.

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2017-04-07
2019-09-18
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