The semantics of auxiliary selection in Old Spanish
Old Spanish had a split auxiliary system in the perfect tense, reminiscent of what is found in Modern French and Modern Italian. In this paper, I trace the progress of the displacement of ser ‘be’ by haber ‘have’ with intransitive and reflexive verbs in the history of Spanish. The data support the hypothesis that predicates that have a more patient-like subject are the last ones to lose their ability to select ser, regardless of their syntactic or morphological make-up. This analysis, I argue, adds to the mounting evidence in favor of a universal semantic account of split intransitivity.
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