Spanish Consecutio Temporum: Myths and Reality
The aim of this monograph is twofold: (1) to study the actual state of the Consecutio Temporum (Ct) in modern Spanish and see how the rules of the most recent Spanish grammar of the Real Academia Española (Esbozo de una nueva gramática de la lengua española, 1973) reflect that actual state of CT, and (2) to propose improvements and make those rules more precise. To study the actual state of CT in modern Spanish, the author has examined some 5,000 articles from twelve Spanish-language newspapers from seven Spanish-speaking countries. The compiled corpus of combinations of tenses proves that it is not sufficient to base the rules solely on the tense of the main verb because the main verb (V1) can combine with the subordinate verb (V2) almost in any tense.
After considering the excerpts from the newspapers, it becomes evident that the main factor in selecting the tense for V2 is the lexical meaning of V1 which holds the information on how both verbs should temporarily combine. The temporal orientation conveyed by the lexical meaning of V1 can however be modified by a series of elements (temporal adverbs, level of privacy of V1, subject of V2, telicity of V2, eternal truth, etc.) that are implied in the sentence.
Dr. Jerzy Kowal is an Assistant Professor of Hispanic Linguistics in the Department of Hispanic Studies at York University and works in the field of myths and realities of the Spanish Grammar. In addition to this publication, he has recently published in Hispanic Horizon an article on the myths and realities of use of the Spanish subjunctive.
ISBN 9783895865022. LINCOM Studies in Romance Linguistics 52. 131pp. 2007.