Chapter published in:Hispanic Linguistics: Current issues and new directions
Edited by Alfonso Morales-Front, Michael J. Ferreira, Ronald P. Leow and Cristina Sanz
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 26] 2020
► pp. 120–136
The Progressive-to-Imperfective shift
Contextually determined variation in Rioplatense, Iberian, and Mexican Altiplano Spanish
Spanish has two markers (claimed to be in free alternation) to convey that an event is in progress at reference time: the Simple Present (e.g., canta, ‘sings’) and the Present Progressive (e.g., está cantando, ‘is singing’). Based on evidence from sentence acceptability studies in three different Spanish dialects, we show that the distribution of the two markers is not random, but sensitive to contextual modulation. Specifically, results show that the (ambiguous) Simple Present is more acceptable in contexts where interlocutors share perceptual access to the event at issue. Otherwise, participants favor the (unambiguous) Present Progressive. We conclude that this variation reflects and is constrained by the well-attested grammaticalization path in which progressive markers gradually generalize to become imperfective markers.
Keywords: grammaticalization, variation, progressive, imperfective, context modulation
Published online: 13 May 2020
Cited by 2 other publications
Fuchs, Martín & Maria Mercedes Piñango
Fuchs, Martín, María Mercedes Piñango & Ashwini Deo
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 27 november 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.