Events and copulas

An approach to a phenomenon of variation across Spanish dialects

Authors

Abstract

This paper focuses on the study of a particular phenomenon of variation related to the distribution of Spanish copulas: the (in)compatibility of event nouns with predication structures where the copula estar and an evaluative adjective are combined. Some structures, such as La boda estuvo preciosa (‘The wedding wasESTAR beautiful’) are present across all Spanish varieties, contrasting with examples such as La tormenta estuvo horrible (‘The storm wasESTAR horrible’), that are attested only in certain specific varieties, and that could be considered an instance of so-called innovative uses of estar. We give here a first picture of the extension of this phenomenon. Secondly, we develop the relevant distinction within the domain of event nouns that is needed to give an accurate explanation of the facts under examination. Finally, we show how these facts fit within the overall picture of copulative variation in Spanish, thus making a significant contribution to our broad understanding of Spanish copulas.

Keywords

ser, estar, copulative verbs, event nouns, syntactic variation

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12-06-2024

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