Chapter published in:Studies in Historical Ibero-Romance Morpho-Syntax
Edited by Miriam Bouzouita, Ioanna Sitaridou and Enrique Pato
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 16] 2018
► pp. 123–148
The dative experiencer of Spanish gustar
This paper focuses on the dative experiencer of Spanish gustar ‘to please, like’, which replaced an older nominative experiencer. The syntactic shift calls for attention since it goes against the well-established diachronic tendency for oblique arguments to be eliminated in favor of nominative subjects (cf. English like). We find a partial explanation in the existence of a dative marking pattern on which gustar could model its behavior and try to identify the semantic and pragmatic factors that played a role in motivating the extension of the non-nominative experiencer to gustar. Our analysis confirms that lexical items retain traces of their source meaning which continue to shape subsequent developments, and that specific discourse contexts are instrumental in generating processes of change.
Keywords: Spanish, experiencer, dative, nominative, subject, oblique, quirky subject
Published online: 17 July 2018
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