Edited by Inga Hennecke and Evelyn Wiesinger
[Constructional Approaches to Language 34] 2023
► pp. 156–192
The Spanish subjunctive has traditionally been described by some linguists as an inflection expressing mood and by others as a marker of subordination. In this contribution I will argue that both functions can be observed, but that Spanish (and Romance) subjunctives increasingly become associated with subordination and lose their modal semantics in the process. I will therefore claim that taking the subjunctive paradigm as a monolithic category with one central semantic value is inadequate for representing all the various constructions in which subjunctive forms appear. As an alternative, I will suggest to model the various Spanish subjunctive constructions within a construction grammar framework informed by Traugott & Trousdale’s work on constructionalisation. An abstract subjunctive schema is posited from which a non-assertion, a modal agreement and a modal trigger subschema are derived. Of these three, two are essentially procedural with little to no semantic content, while only the non-assertion schema partly corresponds semantically to the traditional assertion vs. non-assertion analysis.