Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6759
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9897
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This paper examines the English and Spanish attributive systems of becoming. Due to the striking syntactico-semantic differences observed in these languages, we deem it necessary, in the first place, to distinguish two distinct classes of change of state attributive structures: ‘canonical attributive clauses’, such as In spring the land turns emerald and Las aguas se habían vuelto amargas, and ‘resultative attributive clauses’ of the type illustrated in My throat was swelling shut and Se tiñe el pelo de rubio. We then proceed to compare the grammatical behaviour each set of constructions exhibits in English and Spanish, in order to demonstrate that, as regards the syntactic encoding of the semantic notion of becoming, the linguistic phenomenon known as ‘attribution’ is, in short, syntactically, semantically and pragmatically far more constrained in the latter language than in the former: on the one hand, its attributive verbal system is subject to greater and stricter semantico-pragmatic restrictions than its English counterpart; and on the other, the productivity of its resultative pattern is quite marginal in comparison with the English one.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): attributive system; change of state; English/Spanish
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