Copula use in the Spanish of Venezuela
Is the pattern indicative of stable variation or an ongoing change?
This investigation extends the research on the use of Spanish copulas ser and estar in Venezuela to all [copula + adjective] contexts (see De Jonge 1993; Malaver 2000 for work on expressions of age). Findings reveal that resultant state, adjective class, predicate type, experience with the referent, susceptibility to change, socioeconomic level, age and frame of reference are included in the statistical model as strong predictors of estar. The analysis of the social factors shows that copula choice in Venezuelan Spanish does not show the typical S-curve pattern to strongly support an analysis of change in progress. The history of copula choice in the language suggests a development with long periods of stability and the strong conditioning of linguistic factors. Copula choice in Venezuelan Spanish shows signs that it is slowly advancing and that younger and older speakers are at different stages in this grammatical change.
Keywords: Spanish, copula, stable variation, syntactic variation, socioeconomic class, age
Published online: 05 July 2011
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