Article published in:New Perspectives on the Study of Ser and E star
Edited by Isabel Pérez-Jiménez, Manuel Leonetti and Silvia Gumiel-Molina
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 5] 2015
► pp. 51–84
Ser, estar and two different modifiers
Assuming a novel model based on a minimal cartography where every syntactic node in the structure encodes semantic information (see Romeu, 2014), in this paper I argue that the difference between ser and estar in Spanish is due to the presence of two different modifiers (Conjoint and Disjoint) of the node Stat (which introduces a state) in their respective underlying structures, similarly to the way that the prepositions a and en are distinguished in Romeu (2014). Although both ser and estar lexicalize Stat, ser can also lexicalize Conjoint, which gives the interpretation that there is only one state in the situation described, and estar also lexicalizes Disjoint, which gives the interpretation that the state encoded by Stat is linked to a different state and that there exists a link or relation between these two states. This contrast accounts for the different properties of ser and estar that have been pointed out in the literature: individual-level/stage-level opposition, permanent/temporary interpretation, scalar interpretation of estar, evidential use of estar, etc.
Keywords: Conjoint, copulas, Disjoint, estar, semantics, ser, Spanish, states, syntax
Published online: 28 October 2015
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