Anpassning för överlevnad: semantisk utveckling i det spanska modalsystemet

Tidsperiod: 2019-07-01 till 2022-06-30

Projektledare: Miriam Thegel

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Bidrag för anställning eller stipendier

Budget: 3 150 000 SEK

This project aims to study the semantic evolution of five modal verbs in Spanish between the 16th and the 20th centuries, based on data from Corpus del Español. The study builds on frameworks of cognitive linguistics and functional usage-based models which have generally received little attention in previous Hispanic research on modals. The principal objective is to study which semantic values the verbs have expressed during the last 500 years, to which extent changes of meaning is caused by (inter)subjectification (development of new meanings related towards the speaker´s attitude and the addressee), and how the verbs have interacted and competed with each other. 3000 instances will be examined, combining a fine-grained semantic analysis with statistical methods. The modal meanings will be classified according to semantic values (e.g. ´physical necessity´, ´moral necessity´) and the constructional environment will be accounted for as part of the analysis, including contextual variables like tense, negation, grammatical subject and main verb, which are considered to play an important role in semantic change. The holistic and empirical approach of this project, in which I will study the entire category of necessity based on a rich set of data, and the novel combination of qualitative method and statistics will bring new perspectives on diachronic change, on mechanisms behind modal development in language in general and in Spanish in particular.