Loss of ser as perfect auxiliary in Old Ibero-Romance

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Beachxhair, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. Beachxhair

    Beachxhair Senior Member

    Manchester UK
    English-England
    I read an article by Pountain about the evolution of the Romance Copula (I'll find the article and post the link later if necessary), in which he briefly mentions that the semantic and functional restrictions that ser underwent (resulting from the broadening in estar's functions) may have also been extended to ser's function as a perfect auxiliary. However, he says that we must not assume this is the only cause of its demise as an auxiliary.

    What were the other contributing factors?
     
  2. XiaoRoel

    XiaoRoel Senior Member

    Vigo (Galiza)
    galego, español
    El verbo estar en iberorromance es un verbo intransitivo (no admite paciente como OD) que se construye con un predicativo del sujeto (sujeto del tipo Sip, es decir, sujeto intransitivo paciente), con lo que se reproduce la construcción latinovulgar de stare. En las demás lenguas romances stare ha sido substituído por esse (con sicretismos de stare, sedere, verbos de semántica estativa, en mayor o menor grado según las lenguas). Por eso hablar de que esse "pierde" el valor estativo es una afirmación en falso ya que esse en latín no tiene ese valor estativo del intransitivo stare. De hecho el predicativo del sujeto con stare se une, en función adjetiva con su núcleo substantivo (el sujeto) a través de la semántica del verbo stare, mientras que los atributos con el verbo "cópula" esse se unen en su función adjetiva al sujeto, que es su núcleo substantivo directamente, porque el verbo esse "atributivo" es un morfema que aporta nociones verbales (tiempo, modo, aspecto, persona) al sintagma nominal. Prueba de esta semántica vacía es que muchos autores latinos no usan la estructura atributiva con esse, sino la llamada oración nominal pura, es decir, un sintagma nominal del tipo substantivo+adjetivo, con plena significación (las atributivas con esse se llaman oraciones nominales impuras).
    Creo que en la teoría que nombras hay un desenfoque debido a la consideración según el modelo de, por ejemplo, el francés, de los hechos latinos e iberromances.
    Un saludo y disculpa que no me exprese en el idioma en que preguntas, pero dado que el tema son las lenguas romances de la antigua Hispania (y no domino el inglés hasta el punto de poder expresar sutilezas), me permito usar una de elllas para responderte.
     
  3. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    Beachxhair,

    I don't see how the broadening of estar's functions can cause the "loss" of ser as a perfect auxiliary. I suppose you are referring to French (as already mentioned by XiaoRoel) where there are two perfect auxiliaries: "avoir" and "être" while in Spanish, only "haber" is used to form the compound perfect. So, you should actually be comparing "ser" and "haber" and not "ser" and "estar".

    Another pssibility is that I haven't understood your question.:eek:
     
  4. Beachxhair

    Beachxhair Senior Member

    Manchester UK
    English-England
    I think I have been misunderstood. Pountain's article looks at how Spanish developed a double copula system, the ser/estar distinction. In Old Spanish, estar began to encroach upon some of ser's functions - this is what he calls a 'restriction' of ser. During this time, Pountain argues that ser also began to be 'restricted' in another one of its functions, as a perfect auxiliary. Ser used to be a perfect auxiliary in Old Spanish, until it disappeared in the sixteenth century.

    In Old Spanish, there were two perfect auxiliaries, just like in Modern French and Italian. See Pountain, or Vincent and Harris, or Penny....
     
  5. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    I'm still puzzled. "Estar" is not a copula; proof of which it can be followed by an adverb, which, by definition, is not the case for a copula.

    Next, I suppose you (or the authors, I don't know) mean by "perfect auxiliary" that it is an auxiliary used to form the "perfecto compuesto". So, in that case, how can the change of "estar" influence the use of "ser" as a perfect auxilairy if what you really need to compare is "ser" and "haber"?
     
  6. Beachxhair

    Beachxhair Senior Member

    Manchester UK
    English-England
    This is just what Pountain proposes. I think that estar is classified as a copula in Spanish.

    http://webspace.qmul.ac.uk/cjpountain/essstare.pdf
     
  7. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    I am not familiar with this definition. Are you referring to locative adverbs? I don't think estar takes other adverbial complements productively, any more than English be does. Does it? :confused:
    The author does compare ser and ter/haber, and speculates that it could somehow be connected with ser vs. estar, which is his main topic. But this part of the article (p. 158) is very sketchy, and the various developments are simply mentioned together suggestively as if they could somehow point to a more general underlying explanation, but the author doesn't actually work out what this might be.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  8. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    Perhaps I used the term "by definition" unlawfully (but I think it's a valid argument). But, "estar" can have other adverbs than locative adverbs: e.g. "está bien". "*es bien" is not possible.
     
  9. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Isn't this bien an adjective, as in "Se encuentra bien [p.ej. de salud]"?

    How do you define copula?
     
  10. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    No. "Bien" is an adverb. You can't say: "*es una bien chica". However, you can say: "escribe bien".

    How do I define a copula? Well, I'm old fashioned: a copula is a verb that has a subject and an attribute that is expressed in Latin with a nominative case (and not accusative). Now, you can argue that Spanish is not Latin: that is true. But there is a reason why Latin used a nominative there. Anyway, being a copulative verb or not is not of much importance in modern grammar; grammaticians love to use the term, but let's be honest: what does it matter? The only useful consequence that I see in modern Spanish is that "es bien" is impossible.

    However, if someone uses the term in cases I don't agree with, I can't help it playing the wiseguy:D.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  11. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    That's why I was careful to say "productively". Yes, you can say estar bien or estar mal, but you can also say to be well and to be poorly in English. Those are exceptional constructions. If be can still be a copula in English, then I think you'll have to accept that estar is a copula in Spanish.

    Whether bien in estar bien is an adverb or an adjective is open to debate.
    You can in fact say una chica bien.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  12. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    By that criterion, is parecer a copula?
     
  13. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    You shouldn't compare English, and its defintion of a copula with Spanish:D. I know, I do the same thing with Latin, but that's only to giive the definition.

    Anyway, another argument why "estar" can not be a copula is that the following construction is not possible in Spanish: nouna está nounb. You can't say "*Alberto está profesor". You can say however "Alberto está de profesor" but you can't just couple two nouns with each other just by using estar, which to me seems a pretty basic characteristic of a copula.

    Yes, it could be; much more than "estar" can be.

    But then again, what's the importance?
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  14. Nino83 Senior Member

    Italian
    You can say, for example, esta chica es bien guapa but in this case the adverb modify an adjective (like in esta chica es muy guapa) but you can't say esta chica es bien, without an adjective.

    Anyway I agree with Peterdg. I don't understand how this could lead to the loss of ser as auxiliary verb.

    RAÚL ARANOVICH, FROM ESSE TO SER: DIACHRONIC MISMATCHES IN THE SELECTION OF PERFECT AUXILIARIES
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  15. Nino83 Senior Member

    Italian
    At the beginning haver means posseder and past participle is attribute of the direct object (DO), and it agrees in gender and number with the DO. Habeo litteram scriptam = tengo escrita carta
    Secondly, the verb haver lost the meaning of possession and it became a time marker, indicating an action started in the past by an agent whose consequences have ripercussion on a DO, and past participle doesn't agree with DO.

    At the beginning ser + past participle indicates a state as a consequence of an action (the action has consequences on the subject, not on a DO). Secondly, ser + past participle concentrates on the state, on the consequences of an action.

    So, haber + p.p. is utilized with transitive verbs (there is an agent who make an action that has consequences on a DO) while ser + p.p. is utilized with stative verbs.

    About verbs of movement, haber + p.p. is utilized with non telic verbs, because it concentrates on an action, on the process, while ser + p.p. (but also haber + p.p. is possible) is utilized with telic verbs (verbs with a goal, destination) because it concentrates on a state, on the consequences of an action (for example, entrar, arribar, ir, venir, caer, pasar).

    For example (telic verb):
    entrados son a Molina -> it concentrates on the event, on the consequences of the action (they entred, they are in Molina now, locative)
    el rey don Alfonso a Toledo entrado ha -> it concentrates on the action, on the king's entering in Toledo

    During this time haber and ser have this distinction: the first concentrates on the action (the king entered), the second on the consequences (they are in Molina, now).

    From XII to XV century, haber is used firstly with entrar and arribar and later with ir, venir, caer, pasar but in sentences where there isn't an agent, the verb ser is still used (todo es ido in fumo but en un meses no habemos ido, in the second there is a subject, nosotros). During this time the verb haber is utilized almost exlusively with verbs of movement and with ser (he sido).

    So haber was utilized also with telic verbs (of movement).
    The verb ser + p.p. is later seen as copula + attributive adjective (and no longer indicates locative or the final part, the consequences, of the action).

    So, according to this opinion is the meaning of the verbs that changed. Haber means firstly possession but later it lost this meaning while ser lost the locative and stative function and was seen merely as a copula.

    Source: Beatriz Arias, Ser o haber (+ participio): divergencia hispanica
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013

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