Spanish ser / estar

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by cello1, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. cello1 New Member

    Do any other languages have, like Spanish "ser" and "estar", separate verbs for "to be" corresponding to permanent/intrinsic qualities versus temporary/changeable qualities?
  2. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Portuguese, Catalan, Galician, Aragonese
  3. cello1 New Member

    Thank you. I should have been more specific. What I was really interested in was other non-Romance and non-Indo-European languages.
  4. CapnPrep Senior Member

    This chapter of WALS might interest you:
    Nominal and Locational Predication

    It turns out that most languages around the world have a split system (i.e. they are more like Spanish in this respect than like English).
  5. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    According to what cello1 wrote here I think he didn't mean the nominal and locational prediction I understood he meant Juan está enfermo / Juan es muy guapo. And if I am not mistaken it is something really unique and exists only in some Romance languages.
  6. CapnPrep Senior Member

    Many of the languages identified as having a split system in the WALS survey show a Spanish-like pattern for non-locative predications, too. It's just that locatives are a typical example of temporary properties, and nominal predicates are typically permanent properties. The overt copula in Mandarin, for example, is used in most contexts where Spanish ser would be found. Where estar would normally be used in Spanish, Mandarin uses a zero copula. Using two distinct overt forms of the copula is no doubt rarer, but WALS mentions Irish as an example. So this is not something unique to Romance.
  7. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    In modern-day Finnish, the only common verb for "to be" is olla, but in earlier stages of the language, there was also a verb asea "to be", which may (I'm not sure about this) have been closer to estar than to ser.

    Many derivatives of asea survive in the modern language, and most of them seem to relate to position rather than inherent properties: asua "to stay, dwell", asema "position, station", asento "position, posture", asu "clothing, (outward) appearance", etc.
  8. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Historically speaking Dutch must have had two verbs of being, or at least two roots: zijn (as in wij/zij/zij zijn, [obsolete] gij zijt], wezen (inf. still used in poetic language, seldom conjugated, but turning up in imperative wees, geweest, het wezen (the essence), ...). Maybe there is a remainder of the root b- as in English be, in jij bent (you are), [line in a folk song] zijn daden bennen groot (his deeds are great), etc.
  9. elirlandes

    elirlandes Senior Member

    Dublin & Málaga
    Ireland English
    Irish does -
    Although Irish is a Celtic language, it existed at the same time as Latin, and I would not be surprised if the existence of "Bí" and "Is" was influenced by Latin.
    The present tense conjugation of the verb "bí" is "tá" and is akin to Spanish "estar".
    "Is" (pronounced "iss") is more akin to Spanish "Ser".
    ocras orm - Hunger is on me [I am hungry] : relates to a temporary state
    Is fear mé - I am a man : relates to a permanent state
  10. Словеса Senior Member

    In Russian the verb является (it shows itself) means mostly the same thing as the verb есть (it is). It is formal, the form being the following: 'I cannot know what, philosophically, it is, but here is what it shows itself by its characteristics'. As you imagine, this verb finds its way easily into scientific papers, and elsewhere if the writer wants to be formal.
  11. Stoggler

    Stoggler Senior Member

    Sussex, GBR
    UK English
    Old English used to have two verbs "to be": bēon and wesan. I don't think their usage corresponds with ser and estar in Spanish though: "bēon was used to express permanent truths (the "gnomic present"), while wesan was used for the present participle and the preterite" (source here).

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