ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF COPULAE AND AUXILIARY VERBS IN SPANISH The distribution of copulae and auxiliary verbs in Spanish presents an interesting problem for any morpho-semantic theory of predication. In this talk we focus on a set of auxiliaries consisting of ser, estar, tener and haber, and discuss whether their distributional, morphological and semantic properties can receive a unified treatment. We base our empirical choice on the fact that the copulae ser and estar, and the auxiliary verbs tener and aver seem to share a common predicative “nature”. Intuitively, each verb can establish a predicative relation between two NPs. The specific relation, however, differs for each verb (Maierborn, 2005; Camacho 2012; Gutierrez-Rexach 2007; a.o.). Examples are in (1)-(6): (1) Mario es rubio Mario Cop-S blond ‘Mario is blond’ (2) Mario está rubio Mario Cop-E blond ‘Mario is (currently) blonde’ (3) Mario tiene miedo Mario Cop-T fear ‘Mario is afraid’ (4) Mario ha estado rubio Mario Cop-H Cop-E-PF. blond ‘Mario has been blond’ (5) Mario ha tenido miedo Mario Cop-H Cop-T-PF. fear ‘Mario has been afraid’ (6) Mario ha sido profesor Mario Cop-H Cop-S-PF. professor ‘Mario has been a professor’ We follow Maierborn (2005) and Gutierrez-Rexach (2007)’s practice of glossing auxiliary verbs as the combination of an abstract copula (here, “Cop”), plus a morphological feature that restricts the semantic range of the copula (-S, -E, -T, -H). As examples (1)-(2) show, ser and estar respectively denote a permanent and temporary relation between Mario and the “kind” of blond individuals. Tener, instead, denotes that Mario has the property of being afraid (ex. (3)). Haber, instead, occurs in compound tenses to denote a temporal dimension of meaning: hence, it can combine with the other three auxiliary verbs, as (4)-(6) show. Interestingly, while these data suggest that the four auxiliary verbs share a common morphosemantic “core”, a unified analysis has yet to be proposed. Our goal in this talk is to propose such an analysis, based on the combination of three frameworks: Distributed Morphology (Harley 2012); Type-Logical Calculi (Morryll, 2011); and Situation Semantics (Kratzer 2007). We show that our account can capture the morpho-semantic core of these auxiliary verbs, and
derive their distinct meanings via the compsotional interpretation of the ver-specific morphemes.
References Camacho, José. 2012a.’Ser’ and ‘Estar’: Individual/Stage level predicates or aspect?. In José Ignacio Hualde, Antxón Olarrea and Erin O'Rourke (eds.), The Blackwell handbook of Hispanic linguistics. London: Blackwell, 690-718. Gutierrez-Rexach, Javier. 2007. Beyond the definiteness restriction: a unified semantics for have” In Edith Puig-Waldmüller (ed.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeteung 11, Barcelona, Universitat Pompeu-Fabra, 291-314. HARLEY, Heidi. 2012. Semantics in Distributed Morphology. In Maierborn, Claudia, Klaus von Heusinger, and Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning, 688-709. Amsterdam: De Gruyter. KRATZER, Angelika. 2007. Situations in Natural Language Semantics”, In Edward N. ZALTA (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2010/entries/situations-semantics/] MAIERBORN, Claudia. 2005. A discourse-based account of Spanish ser/estar. Linguistics, 43 (1), 155-180. MORRYLL, Glynn. 2011. Categorial Grammar: Logical Syntax, Semantics, and Processing. Oxford University Press.
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