From Motion to Causation: The Diachrony of the Spanish Causative Constructions with traer (‘Bring’) and llevar (‘Take’)

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Title: From Motion to Causation: The Diachrony of the Spanish Causative Constructions with traer (‘Bring’) and llevar (‘Take’)
Authors: Torres Soler, Julio | Enghels, Renata
Research Group/s: LEXIS (Grupo de Investigación en Léxico y Sintaxis)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Filología Española, Lingüística General y Teoría de la Literatura
Keywords: Grammaticalization | Diachronic construction grammar | Causation | Causative construction | Llevar | Traer
Issue Date: 30-Apr-2023
Publisher: MDPI
Citation: Torres Soler J, Enghels R. From Motion to Causation: The Diachrony of the Spanish Causative Constructions with traer (‘Bring’) and llevar (‘Take’). Languages. 2023; 8(2):122.
Abstract: This paper describes the historical evolution of the Spanish causative micro-constructions with the motion verbs llevar (‘take’) and traer (‘bring’) (e.g., el miedo llevó al ladrón a cometer un error, ‘the fear caused the thief to make a mistake’). In order to reconstruct the historical development of these micro-constructions between the 13th and 20th centuries, all causative uses of llevar and traer were extracted from the Corpus del Diccionario Histórico. This corpus was annotated for a series of formal and semantic parameters that count as indexes of grammaticalization, and was submitted to a quantitative productivity analysis. The results point to the existence of a subschema formed of verbs of caused accompanied motion, which has semantically specialized in the expression of indirect causation. From a formal point of view, this subschema is characterized by a low level of syntactic incorporation of the causative verb and the infinitive. In addition, it is shown that the productivity of the causative micro-constructions under study is determined by semantic changes experienced by llevar and traer as full lexical verbs during the history of Spanish. The late development of the micro-construction with llevar is explained by the initial tendency of this verb to express motion events not bounded by an endpoint. From the 16th century onwards, the decline in the micro-construction with traer and the rise in the micro-construction with llevar results from the consolidation of the deictic meaning of the verb pair.
Sponsor: This research was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Universities grant for university teacher training number FPU19/01505.
ISSN: 2226-471X
DOI: 10.3390/languages8020122
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - LEXIS - Artículos de Revistas

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