Vol. 12:2 (2014) ► pp.443–469
Aspectual reduction and subjective evaluation in Spanish
This paper explores both the polysemy and the development of the adverb apenas ‘barely hardly’ into a discourse marker of temporal proximity ‘just/recently’. In contrast to well-known expected tendencies in grammaticalization, apenas runs against the cannon. The subjective adverb apenas, that designates events carried out “with effort/difficulty”, changed into an objective connector signaling immediacy among events or proximity to the time of speech. The polysemy of apenas is accounted for both synchronically and diachronically, as the interaction between the force-dynamics configuration of the marker (Talmy, 1985, 1988) and the aspectual configuration of the verb. It is proposed that aspect determines the degree of subjectivity of the event where telicity triggers objective representations and these, in turn, led the way for the emergence of a discourse marker of temporal proximity.