Research Paper

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

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.

How to Cite

Saldanya, M. & Rigau, G., (2005) “Cuesta arriba e por llano: The development of “postpositions” in Spanish and Catalan”, Journal of Portuguese Linguistics 4(1), p.69-91. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/jpl.167

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Authors

Manuel Pérez Saldanya (Universitat de València)
Gemma Rigau (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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