Spatial prepositions for original (and richer) meanings: the case of Spanish


  • Maria Eugenia Rasia CONICET
  • Guillermina M. Goni Rasia


Spatio-temporal prepositions like hasta ‘until’ find crucially distinct uses across Spanish varieties. In many cases, uses disallowed in more restrictive variants alternate nontrivially with canonical P distribution, raising pressing questions on spatiotemporal prepositions, lexicalized denotational properties, and their potential exploitation in complex semantic representations.

In Central American varieties in particular, Ps like hasta ‘up to’ show puzzling behavior in two instances: (i) with spatial situation verbs and copulas, in nondynamic, nondurative predications locating an object relative to a perspectival landmark; (ii) with punctual verbs, situating the V-described happening relative to a distal (temporal) vantage point. Both cases are unexpected for general crosslanguage principles touching on aspectual requirements imposed by projective or directional Ps and the specific nature of the verbs combined.

Here, we draw on a general crosslanguage condition for otherwise unpredicted uses of directional spatial Ps building on perspectival location and extend the analysis to accommodate progressive uses in the locative/temporal domain accordingly. We follow the premise that directional/projective prepositions express directions on an interval, and that such directions can be defined either by inherent ground properties or by the relative position of an observer. In noncanonical uses, we contend, the object is situated relative to a landmark serving as origo of the relevant conceptual space. Polar coordinates in the analysis guarantee proper inclusion of all points in the perspectival path, accommodating negation effects accordingly.


space, time, prepositions, abstract path, endpoint


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