A cognitive map of indicative and subjunctive mood use in Spanish
Of general interest, this study confirms the syntactic manifestation of the interpersonal dynamics of the participants in discourse and of their high-level cognitive processes therein. More specifically, this study formalizes categories of the Spanish indicative and subjunctive in a cognitive map based on the deictic organization of the Spanish mood system. This cognitive map, based on a pragmasyntactic approach to mood use, allows us to view mood in Spanish as a mechanism that establishes metaphorical distance from the individual’s here and now. This study treats the indicative and subjunctive moods of Spanish with special attention to the so-called ‘factive’ clauses [those clauses subordinated to matrices of subjective comment such as me alegro que (I am glad that), es bueno que (It is good that), no me gusta que (I don’t like it that), etc. and mental act matrices such as darse cuenta de que (to realize that), tomar en consideración que (to take into account that), etc.]. We propose an approach to analyzing mood use that is based on the information value of an utterance in discourse. In considering information value we take into account (a) Lambrecht’s (1994) work featuring presuppositions as inherent parts of certain syntactical structures; (b) Mejías-Bikandi’s (1994) claim that the subjective comment structure in Spanish (subjective comment + que + clause marked with subjunctive) inherently contains a pragmatic presupposition; (c) Mejías-Bikandi’s reaffirmation that assertion is the role of the indicative and non-assertion is the role of the subjunctive in Spanish; (d) Lunn’s (1988, 1989a & b) suggestion that the indicative is used to assert propositions with high information value while the subjunctive’s role is to not assert propositions with low information value; and (e) Lambrecht’s (1994) ideas on what constitutes information. We assume that non-assertion, including pragmatic presupposition, and asserted propositions work together to create the relative information value of utterances. We show how the information value of utterances can be organized by means of deixis to create a cognitive map. The graphic design for the three dimensional version, which incorporates the notion of the time line with that of metaphorical distance from any individual’s deictic center, was inspired by Langacker’s (1991) Cognitive Gram- mar.
Published online: 01 October 2001
Cited by 6 other publications
Vesterinen, Rainer & Emanuel Bylund
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