A discourse-based account of Spanish ser/estar

The study offers a discourse-based account of the Spanish copula forms ser and estar, which are generally considered to be lexical exponents of the stage-level/individual-level contrast. It argues against the popular vie
The study offers a discourse-based account of the Spanish copula forms ser and estar, which are generally considered to be lexical exponents of the stage-level/individual-level contrast. It argues against the popular view that the distinction between SLPs and ILPs rests on a fundamental cognitive division of the world that is reflected in the grammar. As it happens, conceptual oppositions like “temporary vs. permanent” or “arbitrary vs. essential“ provide only a preference for the interpretation of estar and ser. In addition, the evidence for an SLP/ILP impact on the grammar turns out to be far less conclusive than is currently assumed. The study argues against event-based accounts of the ser/estar contrast in particular, showing that ser and estar pattern alike in failing all of the standard eventuality tests. The discourse-based account proposed instead assumes that ser and estar both display the same lexical semantics (which is identical to the semantics of English be, German sein, etc.); estar differs from ser only in presupposing a relation to a specific discourse situation. By using estar a speaker restricts his or her claim to a specific discourse situation, whereas by using ser, the speaker makes no such restriction. The preference for interpreting estar predications as denoting temporary properties and ser predications as denoting permanent properties follows from economy principles driving the pragmatic legitimation of estars discourse dependence. The analysis proposed in this paper can also account for the observation that ser predications do not give rise to thetic judgements. The proposal is couched in terms of the framework of DRT.
show moreshow less

Export metadata

  • Export Bibtex
  • Export RIS

Additional Services

    Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar
Metadaten
Author:Claudia Maienborn
URN:urn:nbn:de:hebis:30-1111359
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2005
Publishing Institution:Univ.-Bibliothek Frankfurt am Main
Release Date:2008/11/03
Source:Linguistics 43 (2005), 1, S. 155-180.
HeBIS PPN:206947674
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Sprache
Sammlungen:Linguistik
Linguistic-Classification:Linguistik-Klassifikation: Syntax
Licence (German):License Logo Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen

$Rev: 11761 $