Edited by Mar Garachana Camarero, Sandra Montserrat Buendia and Claus Dieter Pusch
[IVITRA Research in Linguistics and Literature 31] 2022
► pp. 87–113
In current Catalan, as well as in other Romance languages, the periphrasis soler+infinitive (it. solere, fr. souloir, port. soer, occ. soler) expresses the common meaning of the imperfect aspect of the verb, in other words, it describes a situation that is repeated more or less regularly during a period of time. There are no diachronic studies on the periphrasis soler+infinitive in Catalan. However, the use of the periphrasis soler+infinitive in Old Catalan unfolds different meanings compared to current Catalan.
We have observed that the periphrasis with soler has a different semantic distribution in old and current Catalan. Essentially, the periphrasis with soler has undergone a semantic reduction with the change of the prototypic centre in favour of the simple form of the imperfect indicative tense. We believe the hypothesis soler+infinitive unfolds a large network of values in medieval language that is coded, based on invited inferencing. (Invited Inferencing Theory of Semantic Change, TCSII). As we will see, these inferencings associated to what the speaker says in a specific context are motivated due to the knowledge shared between the speaker and the listener. In order to prove this, in this study we will analyse the semantic evolution of this construction from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the end.
The analysis of all the data of the corpus shows that the Catalan periphrasis soler+infinitive has four essential values in Old Catalan: A: ‘the occurrence is repeated constantly’, B: ‘the occurrence always occurs’, C: ‘the occurrence is confined in the past’, and D: ‘the occurrence, constantly repeated, cannot occur’.