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International Journal of Romance Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Wetzels, W. Leo

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Volume 23, Issue 2


Structural autonomy in grammaticalization: Leveling and retention with Spanish hacer + time

Chad Howe
Published Online: 2011-10-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/prbs.2011.007


This paper examines the topic of retention in structural and semantic change. While much of the literature on grammaticalization has focused on uncovering the remnants of semantic nuances of lexical items contained in autonomous structures, recent proposals have argued for a parallel effect related to structural conditions. To address this issue, I survey the distribution of hacer ‘to do/make’; + time constructions in Spanish used with either a punctual or durative meaning. Using a quantitative analysis of corpus data from spoken Spanish, I argue that hacer + time exhibits both (i) a general leveling across the constructional paradigm resulting in structural and semantic neutralization and (ii) retention of clausal features associated with the source construction, particularly with low-frequency collocates (e.g., hacía). The result of this process of grammaticalization is a type of syntactic ‘blend’ that expresses features both of a verb and an adjunctival element. The nature of this particular instance of structural and semantic change is argued to be distinct from cases discussed previously in the literature in that the hacer + time construction does not exhibit the same degree of structural autonomy.

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Published Online: 2011-10-25

Published in Print: 2011-11-01

Citation Information: Probus, Volume 23, Issue 2, Pages 247–282, ISSN (Online) 1613-4079, ISSN (Print) 0921-4771, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/prbs.2011.007.

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