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Estudios filológicos

versión impresa ISSN 0071-1713


SOTO, Guillermo. Current use and meaning of the past anterior: A study from the written Spanish of Chile. Estud. filol. [online]. 2009, n.44, pp.227-241. ISSN 0071-1713.

Spanish past anterior (PA, hubo terminado - was ended) is a rarely used and studied verbal form. This work is a research into its meaning and current use in written Chilean Spanish. 195 cases from 1845 to the 21st century and 16 cases from the 16th to the 17th centuries were analyzed. This study proposes that PA is restricted to dynamic and telic states of affairs (accomplishments and achievements) and communicates a phasal aspect focused on the highly dynamic point when a resultant state is brought about. This characterisation accounts for prototypical uses of PA in narratives and as a discourse coherence device. It also accounts for such marginal cases as 'endpoint' PA and non-narrative PA. This work suggests that, because of its relatively low degree of grammaticalization, PA should not be included within the compound forms of the Spanish verbal system.

Palabras clave : past anterior; verb; aspect; telicity; Chilean Spanish.

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