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On causative dar and its alternatives in the history of Spanish

Marcos García Salido EMAIL logo
From the journal Folia Linguistica


This paper studies the linguistic change whereby Spanish dar prevailed as the default verb to express causation when taking a state noun as its object, displacing alternatives such as hacer vergüenza ‘to cause embarrassment’ or poner miedo ‘to frighten’. In spite of the seeming regularity of the dar-plus-state-noun pattern, it is argued that this collocational pattern has an idiosyncratic character, since not all combinations of lexical units conveying an equivalent meaning are acceptable in present day Spanish, whilst some alternatives that are currently possible in related languages and were commonly found in previous stages of this language’s history (hacer miedo lit. ‘to make fear’) are no longer available. The study tries to show that the idiosyncratic character of these combinations in present-day Spanish can be explained in diachronic terms and that they are the result of two frequency effects that have been observed in other instances of linguistic change: on the one hand, the prevalence as productive patterns of linguistic structures with a high type frequency and, on the other, the resilience of structures with a high token frequency.


A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the Linguistic Research Colloquia of the Albert-Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg. I am grateful to Prof. Daniel Jacob for his invitation and to the rest of the attendants for their comments and suggestions. I also want to thank Fátima Faya, Malte Rosemayer and the two anonymous reviewers of Folia Linguistica Historica, who read several draft versions of the article. Funding for my research was provided by a post-doctoral grant from the Galician Government (POS-A/2013/191).


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Published Online: 2017-11-10
Published in Print: 2017-11-27

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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