Edited by Evie Coussé, Peter Andersson and Joel Olofsson
[Constructional Approaches to Language 21] 2018
► pp. 205–239
The development of the conditional caso construction in Spanish
This paper analyzes the development of the abstract noun caso ‘case’ into a conditional marker in Spanish, as in (en) (el) caso (de) que llueva, no saldremos ‘(in) (the) case (of) that it rains, we’ll stay in.’ Building on diachronic corpus data I show that although the development of the conditional sense of caso in what I call the conditional caso construction can, in principle, be considered a textbook example of grammaticalization, in order to account for the formal variation which characterizes the construction as a whole, a construction grammar account might be preferable. Following Traugott & Trousdale (2013) I suggest that the development of the conditional caso construction can be seen as a case of constructionalization and subsequent constructional changes. From the perspective of Spanish caso the two approaches can be seen as complementary, rather than incommensurate, since they both highlight important aspects of the development of a new grammatical construction.