Pluractionality in Spanish: the verbal periphrasis vivir + gerund

Event details


Date & time

Friday 10 July 2015


Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, Room 5019, Coombs Building 9, ANU


Patricia Amaral


Patricia Amaral

This talk focuses on the properties of the verbal periphrasis vivir ('to live') + gerund, attested in several American varieties of Spanish (Central American, Colombian, and Rioplatense Spanish) but largely understudied. I propose to analyze it as a pluractional construction with frequentative meaning, understanding pluractionality as the grammatical encoding of plurality in the verbal domain (Cusic 1981, Newman 1990, Wood 2007). Building on Laca’s analysis of aspectual periphrases formed with the verbs of motion ir and andar and the gerund in Ibero-Romance (Laca 2004, 2005), it is shown that similarly to these constructions, vivir + gerund is not a progressive, and that it belongs to the domain of situation aspect rather than viewpoint aspect (in the sense of Smith 1991). In the final part of the talk I describe the discourse-licensing conditions of this periphrasis, arguing that its evaluative value is related to the expression of large and uncountable number, both in the nominal and in the verbal domain (Amaral 2013). With this study, I hope to contribute to a better understanding of the morphosyntactic manifestations of pluractionality in Romance and more broadly, to our knowledge of event plurality cross-linguistically.


Amaral, P. 2013. The pragmatics of number: The evaluative properties of vivir + V[Gerund]. Journal of Pragmatics 51: 105-121.

Cusic, D. 1981. Verbal Plurality and Aspect. Ph.D. Dissertation, Stanford University.

Laca, B. 2004. Progressive, Pluractionals and the Domains of Aspect. In O. Cruzet, H. Demidache, and S. Wauquier (Eds.),Domain(e)s, Proceedings of the Journée de Linguistique de Nantes 2004, 87-92.

Laca, B. 2005. Périphrases aspectuelles et temps grammatical dans les langues romanes. In H. Bat-Zeev Shyldkrot, N. Le Querler (Eds.), Les Périphrases Verbales. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 47-66.

Newman, P, 1990. Nominal and Verbal Plurality in Chadic. Dordrecht, Foris.

Smith, C. 1991. The parameter of aspect. Kluwer: Dordrecht.

Wood, E. 2007. The Semantic Typology of Pluractionality. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.

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