Publication details [#14193]

Beké, Len. 2018. Metaphorical Extension and the Grammaticalization of Patrás in Nuevomexicano Spanish . Spanish in Context 15 (1) : 127–150. 24 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: John Benjamins


The term "patrás" in US Spanish constitutes an expanded use of one of the most salient features of this language, generally accepted as an influence from English. Lipski (1986) maintains that it is a syntactic calque from certain constructions in English containing the term back; whereas for Otheguy (1999), it reflects cultural but not linguistic influence; and finally, for Vila (2005, 2010), it has to do with grammaticalization processes intrinsic to the Spanish language. The exploration of the semantics of the spatial adverbial within its historical as well as its contemporary employment evidences its absence in previous studies. Talmy’s (1983) typology of motion events is applied here to trace a grammaticalization path for the term patrás regarding its historical and its contemporary use in Nuevomexicano Spanish. It is shown that the term patrás has evolved from an atelic backwards motion meaning to a telic return meaning. This change of meaning is also manifested in Germanic languages in the case of adverbs deriving from the noun back, as well as in the case of the Romance preflix re- from Latin adverb retro. This project upholds that the influence of English resulted in an increased frequency of satellite-framed constructions in US Spanish, enabling the proper conditions for innovations in the form of para atrás and finally become conventionalized through a process of systematic linguistic change.