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Research Paper

Cuesta arriba e por llano: The development of “postpositions” in Spanish and Catalan

Authors:

Manuel Pérez Saldanya ,

Universitat de València
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Gemma Rigau

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
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Abstract

In this article we analyze the formation of Spanish and Catalan phrases with an intransitive locative adverb preceded by a bare noun. These constructions can have a meaning of path and direction (i. e. Sp. río abajo, Cat. riu avall ‘downriver’) as well as body orientation (i. e. Sp. cara abajo, Cat. cara avall ‘face down’). A detailed analysis of the available historical documentation suggests the hypothesis that these constructions derive from more complex expressions headed by a preposition that lost its phonological properties, without losing its semantic and syntactic features. The presence of a phonologically null preposition is licensed both by the meaning of the incorporated noun and by the presence of a predicative directional adverb phrase. The case of the Catalan preposition cap ‘towards’, from the noun cap ‘head’, shows one step further in the evolution of these constructions.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jpl.167
How to Cite: Saldanya, M. P., & Rigau, G. (2005). Cuesta arriba e por llano: The development of “postpositions” in Spanish and Catalan. Journal of Portuguese Linguistics, 4(1), 69–91. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jpl.167
Published on 30 Jun 2005.
Peer Reviewed

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