2005-07-27Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/27436
A Discourse-Based Account of Spanish ser/estar
Sprach- und literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
The study o¤ers a discourse-based account of the Spanish copula formsserandestar, which are generally considered to be lexical exponents of thestage-level/individual-level contrast. It argues against the popular view thatthe distinction between SLPs and ILPs rests on a fundamental cognitive di-vision of the world that is reflected in the grammar. As it happens, concep-tual oppositions like ‘‘temporary vs. permanent’’ or ‘‘arbitrary vs. essential’’provide only a preference for the interpretation ofestarandser. In addition,the evidence for an SLP/ILP impact on the grammar turns out to be farless conclusive than is currently assumed. The study argues against event-based accounts of theser/estarcontrast in particular, showing thatserandestarpattern alike in failing all of the standard eventuality tests. Thediscourse-based account proposed instead assumes thatserandestarbothdisplay the same lexical semantics (which is identical to the semantics ofEnglishbe, Germansein, etc.);estardi¤ers fromseronly in presupposinga relation to a specific discourse situation. By usingestara speaker restrictshis or her claim to a specific discourse situation, whereas by usingser, thespeaker makes no such restriction. The preference for interpretingestarpredications as denoting temporary properties andserpredications as de-noting permanent properties follows from economy principles driving thepragmatic legitimation ofestar’s discourse dependence. The analysis pro-posed in this article can also account for the observation thatserpredica-tions do not give rise to thetic judgments. The proposal is couched in termsof the framework of DRT.
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