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The development of the conditional caso construction in Spanish

Chapter in book
Authors Anton Granvik
Published in Grammaticalization meets Construction Grammar
Pages 205-239
ISBN 9789027264169
Publisher John Benjamins Publishing Company
Place of publication Amsterdam / Philadelphia
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Pages 205-239
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1075/cal.21
Keywords Spanish caso, conditional conjunction, grammaticalization, constructionalization, constructional change
Subject categories Spanish language, Linguistics

Abstract

This paper analyzes the development of the abstract noun caso ‘case’ into a conditional marker in Spanish, as in (en) (el) caso (de) que llueva, no saldremos ‘(in) (the) case (of) that it rains, we’ll stay in.’ Building on diachronic corpus data I show that although the development of the conditional sense of caso in what I call the conditional caso construction can, in principle, be considered a textbook example of grammaticalization, in order to account for the formal variation which characterizes the construction as a whole, a construction grammar account might be preferable. Following Traugott & Trousdale (2013) I suggest that the development of the conditional caso construction can be seen as a case of constructionalization and subsequent constructional changes. From the perspective of Spanish caso the two approaches can be seen as complementary, rather than incommensurate, since they both highlight important aspects of the development of a new grammatical construction.

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