Expressivity in Spanish
Andrés Saab
May 2024

This chapter focuses on a set of expressive constructions in Spanish, with special reference to Rioplatense Spanish, a dialect spoken in Argentina. A Kaplanian perspective on meaning is adopted, according to which representational and expressive meanings are modeled in separated dimensions. The representational dimension is analyzed with the usual tools of possible world semantics, whereas expressive meanings are formally captured by relating linguistic expressions to sets of contexts, which ultimately provide use-conditions under which expressive correctness is evaluated. Syntax plays a crucial role in the derivation of use-conditions, whose calculus depends on different syntactic manipulations (e.g.. expletivization or expressive agreement/movement) that connect grammar to contextual factors. Adjective expressives in prenominal position (e.g. "maldito" ‘damn’), mixed expressives in postnominal position (e.g., "un libro de mierda" ‘a shitty book’), epithets (e.g., "el idiota de Andrés" ‘that idiot Andrés’), slurs (e.g., "Andrés es sudaca" ‘Andrés is South-American(pejorative)’), expressive intensifers (e.g., the degree prefix "re-" or the size adjective "alto/a" ‘tall’ in prenominal position) and different types of honorifics (e.g., "don Andrés" ‘HON Andrés’, "la señora abogada" ‘the Mrs. lawyer’) are discussed, then, under this syntactic-semantic approach.
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Reference: lingbuzz/008110
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: expressivity, spanish, expressive adjectives, epithets, intensifiers, honorifics, semantics, syntax
previous versions: v1 [April 2024]
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