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Journal Title: Borealis: An International Journal of Hispanic Linguistics

ISSN: 1893-3211 (Online)

Publisher: Septentrio Academic Publishing

Society/Institution: UiT The Arctic University of Norway

LCC Subject Category: Language and Literature: Philology. Linguistics

Country of publisher: Norway

Language of fulltext: English, Spanish

Full-text formats available: PDF



Ángel J. Gallego (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Juan Uriagereka (University of Maryland)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 15 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

This paper studies the SER / ESTAR alternation in Spanish. Following the logic behind Freeze's (1992) and Kayne's (1993) analysis of Benveniste's (1960) approach to HAVE, it is argued that ESTAR derives from SER plus the incorporation of an additional functional element, labeled X. It is this element (which we argue has a prepositional nature in different languages), and not some lexical property (a feature), that is responsible for the oft-noted aspectual (i.e. non-standing, perfective, stagelevel) flavor of ESTAR. Even though we focus on the SER / ESTAR cut, our analysis ultimately argues for the idea that the distinction between Individual Level and Stage Level predicates does not indicate a 'lexical' (meaning 'primitive,' 'intrinsic,' or 'inherent') property of predicates. In line with recent neoconstructionist approaches to the lexicon (cf. Borer 2005, Hale & Keyser 1993, 2002, Marantz 1997, Ramchand 2008, among others), we pursue the idea that properties (transitivity, lexical aspect, stativity, etc.) that were interpreted as lexical in projectionist and lexicalist models are actually the consequence of a specific syntax.