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The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages$

Adam Ledgeway and Martin Maiden

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199677108

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677108.001.0001

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Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish

Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish

Chapter:
(p.382) Chapter 22 Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish
Source:
The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages
Author(s):

Donald N. Tuten

Enrique Pato

Ora R. Schwarzwald

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677108.003.0022

Abstract and Keywords

After a brief outline of the principal episodes in the external history, the chapter surveys the principal aspects of phonology, morphology and syntax of Spanish (including Latin American varieties), Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese and Judaeo-Spanish. Vowels Consonants; Stops; Affricate /ʧ/; Fricatives; Nasals; Laterals; Rhotics; /ʝ/ and initial [w-]; Prosody; Syllable structure; Stress and rhythm; Intonation; Orthography; Morphology; Nominal group; Nouns and adjectives; Determiners, possessives, quantifiers, interrogatives; Pronouns; Count/non-count referential systems; Verbal group; Conjugations; Inflection; Verb roots; Derivational morphology; word-formation processes; Nominal group; Pronominals; Tense, aspect, and mood; Copulas; Adverbs; Negation; Passive and middle voice; Clause; Prepositional accusative; Relative clauses; Dequeísmo/queísmo; Sentence organization and information structure.

Keywords:   Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish, phonology, orthography, morphology, syntax

22.1 Introduction

Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish

Map 22.1 Local varieties of Central Ibero-Romance in the Iberian Peninsula (note that Spanish has long been employed in all regions of Spain, including those with local varieties). Spanish is also the primary language of the Canary Islands (not shown on this map).

Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish

Map 22.2 Spanish-speaking areas of Latin America (excluding mainland US)

Our topic is a set of language varieties which may be referred to as central Ibero-Romance, as we do here, or Hispano-Romance (cf. Map 22.1). Spanish, the most widely spoken and written Romance language, has well over 400,000,000 native speakers and at least 60,000,000 second language users (Ethnologue 2013). It is an official language in Spain, nineteen Latin American republics and Puerto Rico (see Map 22.2), as well as Equatorial Guinea in Africa. There is residual use in the Philippines and frequent use in many parts of the USA, associated with long-standing Hispanic populations in New Mexico and south Texas, and even more so with first- and second-generation members of Hispanic/Latino immigrant groups across that country. Spanish has been the object of official standardization since the founding of the Royal Spanish Academy (Real Academia Española) in 1713-14, which since 1951 has worked with the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language on the codification and elaboration of the language.

Spanish, known in Spanish as castellano ‘Castilian’, or español, arose as one of many varieties which formed part of the peninsular Ibero-Romance dialect continuum. This continuum, which survives to varying degrees among rural speakers in the northernmost, largely mountainous, zones of the Peninsula, dates back to late Roman and Visigothic times and was manifest also in the now-extinct southern Ibero-Romance varieties, conventionally known as Mozarabic, used by Mozarabs (Arabicized Christians) and others who lived under Moorish rule from 711 AD to the twelfth century. By most accounts, Castilian first arose in the region of Old Castile near Burgos during the repopulation of the northern meseta in the ninth century; from there it was carried south during the ‘reconquest’ and repopulation of the central Peninsula, spreading progressively west and east the further south it was taken (forming a kind of wedge between Astur-Leonese and Navarro-Aragonese, which shared, with Mozarabic, some features which Castilian did not). The mountainous region directly north of Burgos is traditionally regarded as part of the original Castilian-speaking area, although varieties spoken there, including Pasiego (Penny 1969), show conservative features which are not typical of most varieties known as castellano since the thirteenth century.

Modern scholars have tended to group what they consider to be non-Spanish varieties of central Ibero-Romance according to the regions in which they were once spoken: Astur-Leonese in Asturias and León, Navarro-Aragonese in Navarre and Aragon. Astur-Leonese is used as a cover label for the varieties that have been used in areas between Old Castile and Galicia-Portugal, those to the east being most similar to Spanish and those to the west most similar to Galician-Portuguese. Today, the most vigorous varieties of Astur-Leonese are those spoken in rural communities of Asturias, where some 100,000 speakers are believed to remain (Ethnologue 2013). These are often divided into western, central, and eastern varieties, collectively known as asturiano/u or bable, the latter a traditional yet pejorative label. Since 1980 the Academia de la Llingua Asturiana has promulgated a standard form, based primarily on central varieties. To the south, vestigial use of western Astur-Leonese is retained in western areas of the provinces of León, Zamora, and Salamanca. Unlike areas south of Salamanca, there is no clear division (bundle of isoglosses) between these varieties and those of Galicia or Portugal, today generally understood to be varieties of a standardized Galician language or of Portuguese. However, Mirandese, with 10-15,000 speakers, is a variety of western Leonese spoken in the Portuguese region of Miranda do Douro; it shares some features with Galician-Portuguese that other Astur-Leonese varieties do not. Recognized by Portugal in 1999 as a distinct language, it has become an object of standardization. Further south, some conservative western or ‘Leonese’ features occur in rural Extremadura.

(p.383) (p.384) (p.385) ‘Navarro-Aragonese’ is a cover label for eastern varieties historically spoken south of the Pyrenees in areas between Old Castile (and Basque-speaking regions of the Basque Country and northern Navarre) and Catalonia, including La Rioja, southern Navarre, and Aragon. Today, Navarro-Aragonese survives only vestigially in varieties traditionally known as Aragonese (aragonés) spoken in Pyrenean villages of Upper Aragon; they are often referred to by local names: e.g. ansotano in Ansó, belsetán in Bielsa, chistabino in Gistaín. There remain at most 10,000 native speakers; most of these speak more easterly varieties, such as benasqués (in Benasque), which share some features with Catalan. Attempts to standardize and promote a unified Aragonese have led to the creation of the Consello d’a Fabla Aragonesa in 1976, the unofficial Academia de l’Aragonés in 2006, and the official (though controversial) Academia Aragonesa de la Lengua in 2013, which is also to be responsible for regulating and standardizing use of some eastern varieties hitherto labelled as Catalan.

Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish

Map 22.3 The spread of Judaeo-Spanish

Judaeo-Spanish, also known as Judezmo or Ladino, cannot be associated with particular regions of the Iberian Peninsula or the Americas, being the language of descendants of the Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain (Sefarad in Hebrew) in 1492. Indeed, varieties of Judaeo-Spanish show mixing of Castilian phonological, grammatical, and lexical features with those of other varieties of Ibero-Romance, including Asturian and Aragonese. Judaeo-Spanish came to be used across Europe and the Mediterranean wherever Sephardic communities were established, particularly within the Ottoman Empire (cf. Map 22.3). Significant differences developed between western varieties spoken mainly in Morocco and eastern varieties spoken mainly in Greece and Turkey, but also in the Balkans. Varieties of Judaeo-Spanish are still used to a limited extent in areas where Sephardic groups have remained or resettled, including Turkey but also the United States, various locations in Europe and especially Israel. Perhaps 100,000 speakers of Judaeo-Spanish remain, but most of these are older and the language is unlikely to survive them (Harris 1994). In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Judaeo-Spanish was subject to competing forms of unofficial standardization. In 1997 the government of Israel set up the Autoridad Nasionala del Ladino i su Kultura, which aims to preserve the language and supports Aki Yerushalayim, a journal published in Judaeo-Spanish since 1979 (Bunis 1992; Schwarzwald 2002; Varol Bornes 2008; Orfali 2010).

Penny (2000; 2002) points out that Spanish phonology, grammar, and lexicon are characterized by extensive simplification, levelling, and mixing. Penny, and Tuten (2003), suggest that these features are in part the result of the repeated phases of intense koineization (dialect mixing leading to formation of a new variety) which this variety (or set of varieties) has undergone, first in Burgos and Old Castile (ninth and tenth centuries), later as the reconquest and the repopulation of the Peninsula progressed into Toledo and New Castile (after 1085), Betic Andalusia (after 1224), Granada, Canary Islands, and the Americas (after 1492). Although Astur-Leonese and Navarro-Aragonese have generally been more conservative than Spanish, dialect mixing during the reconquest also seems to have contributed to the differentiation of more conservative northern varieties (those which survive most vigorously today) from southern varieties which tended to favour many of the simpler features of Spanish (though subsequently Spanish has exercised constant pressure on Asturian and Aragonese). Judaeo-Spanish, too, shows the impact of the dialect mixing and levelling which accompanied the Sephardic diaspora (Penny 2000:174-93), though it retains some markedly conservative features of medieval Spanish and also includes innovations resulting from language contact.

22.2 Phonology

22.2.1 Vowels

A defining characteristic of Spanish and central Ibero-Romance is the five-phoneme tonic vowel system, with three degrees of aperture and distinctions between front, central, and back vowels.1 These vowels include: /i/ (piso ‘floor’), /u/ (puso ‘put.PRT.3SG’), /e/ (peso ‘weight’), /o/ (poso ‘sediment’) and /a/ (paso ‘pass’). Spanish developed the five-vowel system from an earlier seven-vowel system (cf. §25.1.1) after western Romance /ɛ/ and /ɔ/ diphthongized (> /ie/ and /ue/) in both open and closed syllables (cf. §38.4). These prototypically short, tense vowels have remained remarkably stable over time and space (especially /a/). Phonemic distinctions based on length do not exist.

The five vowel phonemes also occur in atonic syllables. Neutralization of atonic /e/~/i/ and atonic /o/~/u/ has long been a feature of most colloquial varieties, particularly in pretonic position (see Penny 2000:211): Sp./Ast./JuSp. (p.386) (p.387) señor~siñor ‘sir’, Sp. podrir~pudrir ‘to rot’. In Asturian and Aragonese, neutralization of /a/~/e/ can occur (Chistabino Ara. ansera~ensera ‘handle’). Indeed, neutralization is so regular in Chistabino Aragonese and Judaeo-Spanish of Budapest and Bucharest that these varieties have reduced atonic vowels to just three: /a/ /i/ /u/ (Mott 2007:108; Penny 2000:187). Deletion of word-internal, often post-tonic vowels, which occurred historically in Spanish, remains possible in Aragonese ([ˈaspɾa] áspera ‘rough.F’). In Mexican and Andean Spanish, atonic vowels (particularly /e/) which occur between voiceless obstruents are frequently devoiced and reduced ([ˈpaɾ.te̥s] partes ‘parts’).

Treatment of final atonic vowels differs across varieties. Historically, Spanish word-final vowels were reduced to three: /e/ /o/ /a/ (whereas Asturian and Cantabrian retained at least four); /u/ and /i/ were reintroduced to Spanish through borrowing and other means (e.g. tribu ‘tribe’). Spanish deleted historical final /e/ after many voiced consonants (CANTARE > cantar ‘to sing’, UERITATEM > verdad ‘truth’); eastern Aragonese favours deletion (particularly of /e/) in still more contexts: Ara. puent ‘bridge’, tot ‘all’ vs Sp. puente, todo. Asturian also retains lexicalized examples of final vowel deletion once found more widely (Ast. diz vs Sp. dice ‘says.PRS.IND.3SG’), but in western Asturian final unstressed /e/ is variably retained in contexts where it is elsewhere lost (WAst. facere ‘to do’ vs Sp. hacer). Final /e/ and /o/ are subject to raising in Asturian ([ˈnweʧi] nueche ‘night’), Judaeo-Spanish (standard [ˈiʒo] ~ dialectal [ˈiʒu~ˈfíʒu] hijo ‘son’), some varieties of Aragonese, and Cantabrian (Penny 1969), but can also be found in Spanish, as in rural Puerto Rico: [ˈpoti] pote ‘pot’, [ˈpelu] pelo ‘hair’ (Oliver 2008).

Spanish tonic and atonic vowels show some laxing in closed syllables, with high and mid vowels realized with slightly lower articulations, and /a/ often realized as slightly fronted (fronting/raising of atonic /a/ in final syllables is also typical of Asturian and some dialects of Judaeo-Spanish: JuSp. [ˈavlan~ˈfavlan~ˈfavlen] hablan ‘they.speak’). In eastern Andalusian Spanish, deletion of final /s/ has left tense and lax vowels (often extended by vowel harmony to preceding syllables) as surface markers of number: [ˈpelo] pelo ‘hair’ vs [ˈpɛlɔ] pelos ‘hairs’. Metaphonetic raising is found in Asturian and Cantabrian, in which final atonic /o/ and /u/ distinguish non-count from count adjectives and some nouns; final /u/ tended to have a raising effect on the preceding vowel, leading to alternations of the type [ˈpelo] ‘hair’ vs [ˈpilu] ‘(a) hair’ (see below; §§27.2, 57.4). Subsequent final vowel raising in some varieties has opacified the source of the change: [ˈpelu] ‘hair’ vs [ˈpilu] ‘(a) hair’ (Penny 1969; 2000; Hualde 1989).

Diphthongs and triphthongs are composed of one non-high vowel (/e/ /a/ /o/) and one or two atonic high vowels (/i/ /u/), realized as a front or back glide respectively, as in /ie/ = [je], /ue/ = [we], /uei/ = [wej]. Such sequences occur word-internally (miedo ‘fear’, sueño ‘sleep’, buey ‘ox’) and across word boundaries in connected speech ([tweɾˈmano] tu hermano ‘your brother’). Falling diphthongs (Sp. peine ‘comb’< PECTINEM) are dispreferred, though Aragonese conserves them in reflexes of -ULT- and -CT- (see §39.4.2) (e.g. MULTUM, FACTUM > Ara. muito ‘much’, feito ‘done’ vs Sp. mucho, hecho), and they are common in western Astur-Leonese: WAst. peito ‘chest’, cousa ‘thing’ vs Sp. pecho, cosa). Judaeo-Spanish shows variable phonetic reduction of [ej] to [e]: [ˈrejna~ˈrena] reina ‘queen’.

Although Asturian and Aragonese share the five-vowel system with Spanish, there are variable historical and modern realizations of the reflexes of Romance tonic /ɛ/ (<Ĕ) and /ɔ/ (< Ŏ): [ɛ, ja, je] and [ɔ, wo, wa, we] (Tuten 2003:121f.). In Spanish, the diphthongs stabilized early on with regular [je] (e.g. BĔNE > bien ‘well’) and [we] (e.g. BŎNUM > bueno ‘good’) (but see §38.4). Today, standard Asturian and Aragonese are like Spanish in preferring [je] and [we], but these varieties are also distinguished by diphthongal reflexes in historical prepalatal contexts where Spanish retains a monophthong (see also §38.4): ŎCULUM > Ast. güeyu, Ara. uello/güello, Sp. ojo). On the other hand, Judaeo-Spanish sometimes has monophthongs where Spanish has diphthongs (possibly influenced by contact with Portuguese): [ˈpɾeto] prieto ‘black’, [ˈponte] puente ‘bridge’.

Same-vowel sequences are often reduced to a single vowel in colloquial speech ([alˈβ‎aka] albahaca ‘basil’), but reinforcement by epenthesis is frequent in some varieties: Ast./Ara. creyer ‘to believe’ vs Sp. creer. Hiatus can be lost in all varieties, though with varying degrees of social acceptance: Sp. [pe.ˈɾi.o.ðo] ~ [pe.ˈɾjo.ðo] período~periodo ‘period’, [te.ˈa.tɾo] ~ [ˈtja.tɾo] teatro ‘theatre’. Judaeo-Spanish, Asturian, and particularly Aragonese manifest loss of hiatus (sometimes by elision: Ara. almada < almohada ‘pillow’) as well as its reinforcement by epenthesis (often a front glide): Ara. [banˈdjaɾ] or [bandeˈjaɾ] bandear ‘to ring (bells)’, JuSp. [ˈti.a] ~ [ˈti.ja] tía ‘aunt’.

22.2.2 Consonants

22.2.2.1 Stops

Varieties of central Ibero-Romance generally retain six stop phonemes /p t k/, /b d ɡ/. Prototypically, the voiceless stops are unaspirated plosives. These may appear alone in syllable/word-initial, or in syllable/word-final position in borrowings from Latin and other languages, though Aragonese has traditionally permitted word-final /t/: verdat ‘truth’. They may also combine with a following lateral or tap in syllable-initial position (but initial **/dl/ is not (p.388) allowed, and initial /tl/ is acceptable only in some Latin American varieties): Sp. paz ‘peace’, playa ‘beach’, prado ‘meadow’, teatro ‘theatre’, concreto ‘concrete’, [ˈat.las] [ˈa.tlas] atlas. In some varieties (e.g. Canarian and Cuban Spanish), /p t k/ are subject to variable voicing in intervocalic position (Hualde 2005:143). Spanish shows stylistically variable weakening or deletion of voiceless stops when in syllable- and word-final position, so that doctor ‘doctor’ may be articulated as [dokˈtoɾ], [doɣˈtoɾ]~[doxˈtoɾ], or [doˈtoɾ]. Deletion is frequent in word-final position (autostop [awtosˈto] ‘hitch-hiking’), though less so in some monosyllabic words: pop, rock. In Asturian and Aragonese some syllable-final voiceless stops have been vocalized: Ara. dialeuto ‘dialect’, Ast. dialeutu, Sp. dialecto.

Phonemes /b/ /d/ /ɡ/ have a distribution similar to that of the voiceless stops, though word-final /d/ is common in inherited words (Sp. verdad ‘truth’) and word-final /b/ /ɡ/ only in borrowings. Within and across words, these phonemes are realized with stop and approximant allophones in complementary distribution: /b/ (written Sp. b or v) is [β‎] in all contexts except after pauses and nasals, where it is [b] (e.g. [β‎] in leve ‘light’ vs [b] in enviar); /d/ is articulated as [ð] except after pause, nasal, or lateral, where it is [d] (e.g. [ð] in cada ‘each’ vs [d] in caldo ‘broth); /ɡ/ is articulated as [ɣ] except after pause and nasal, where it is [ɡ] (e.g. [ɣ] in mago ‘wizard’ vs [ɡ] in manga ‘sleeve’). This pattern is found in Spanish, Asturian, Aragonese (see below for Judaeo-Spanish), but there is variation. For instance, in highland Colombia and Costa Rica, stops are preferred after all consonants (see Hualde 2005:145f.). Syllable-final position favours the greatest variation. Thus in óptimo ‘optimal’ syllable-final /p/ may be articulated as any of a range of variants between conservative [p] and weakened [β‎], while in obtener ‘to obtain’ syllable-final /b/ may be articulated as any of a range of variants between prototypical [β‎] and emphatic [p]. Historically Astur-Leonese syllable-final voiced stops have been weakened to a lateral (known as ‘Leonese l’) rather than a fricative or approximant (e.g. Ast. alministración ‘administration’ vs Sp. administración).

Historical weakening of plosives continues today. In Spanish, word-final /d/ is often deleted ([usˈte] usted ‘you’) or, in Castile, devoiced ([maˈðɾiθ‎] Madrid); intervocalic /d/ is also regularly deleted in the masculine participial ending -ado ([kanˈsao]~[kanˈsaw] cansado ‘tired.MSG’). Judaeo-Spanish shows variable deletion in word-final position but deletion in ‑ado is rare. Both types of deletion are normal in Asturian and western Aragonese, where it is represented in standard orthographies: Ast. actitú ‘attitude’, faláu ‘spoken.MSG’, Ara. autitú, fablau, vs Sp. actitud, hablado. In Andalusian and Caribbean Spanish, loss of /d/ is found in other contexts: [biˈβ‎io] vivido ‘lived’, [kanˈsaː]~[kanˈsa] cansada ‘tired.FSG’, [naː]~[na] nada ‘nothing’, [ˈbia] vida ‘life’. At the other extreme, eastern varieties of Aragonese (and Gascon) are well-known for lack of voicing of Latin voiceless intervocalic stops (CANTĀTUM/-AM > EAra. cantato/a ‘sung.MSG/FSG’). Historical retention of /b/ in the Latin sequence /mb/ is characteristic of Asturian: LUMBUM > Ast. llombu ‘loin’ vs Sp./Ara. lomo. Aragonese has tended to assimilate post-nasal voiced stops, leading to loss of /d/ in the sequence /nd/: DEMANDARE > demanar ‘to ask for’ vs Ast./Sp./JuSp. demandar ‘to demand; to sue’.

Judaeo-Spanish differs in several respects. First, /ɡ/ does not normally follow the stop/approximant alternation. In some dialects, one finds exclusive use of [ɣ] (as in Salonika) or [ɡ] (as in some Turkish communities). In others, [ɡ] and [ɣ] alternate freely, while in Istanbul Judaeo-Spanish they can alternate as in Spanish, but some words show selection of either [ɡ] or [ɣ] in initial position (Hualde and Saul 2011:97). Second, /d/ often follows the stop/appoximant alternation, but loanwords can show oppositions in intervocalic position: [saˈdik] ‘righteous person’ < Heb. <ṣaddiq> vs [seðaˈka] ‘charity’ < Heb. <ṣədāqā>). Judaeo-Spanish shows a stable contrast between phonemes /b/ and /v/, reflecting partial conservation of medieval /b/ and /β‎/ (or /v/ in historical southern Iberian varieties): [la ˈviða] la vida ‘the life’ vs [la ˈboka] la boca ‘the mouth’. However, the modern distribution of /b/ and /v/ does not always match the medieval distribution of /b/ and /β‎/. The contrast has also become important for distinguishing numerous borrowed forms: [xaˈveɾ] ‘friend’ (from Hebrew) vs [xaˈbeɾ] ‘news’ (from Turkish). The allophone [β‎] is no longer used, except in some Moroccan Judaeo-Spanish varieties influenced by modern Spanish (Schwarzwald 2002:576-8).

22.2.2.2 Affricate /ʧ/

Spanish, Asturian, Aragonese, and Judaeo-Spanish all have a phoneme /ʧ/, but not necessarily with the same origin or distribution. Spanish and Asturian developed /ʧ/ from postnasal consonant clusters (ancho ‘wide’ < AMPLUM), whereas Aragonese did not (cf. amplo). In Asturian and Spanish the affricate also developed from -CT- and -ULT- (FACTUM > Ast. fecho, Sp. hecho ‘done’, MULTUM > mu(n)cho ‘much’), while Aragonese (and western Astur-Leonese) retains more conservative forms (Ara. feito, muito). Aragonese /ʧ/ also develops from Latin initial G- and I-: GELĀRE > Ara. chelar ‘to freeze’, IUUENEM > choven ‘young’; cf. Sp. helar, joven. Judaeo-Spanish shares the Spanish distribution and uses this phoneme in many borrowings ([ʧaˈdiɾ] ‘umbrella’ < Turkish). The prototypical allophone of /ʧ/ is prepalatal [ʧ], but in some Andalusian and Caribbean Spanish varieties (and in Aragonese) it is often weakened to [ʃ]: Sp. [muˈʃaʃo] muchacho ‘boy’. In other varieties it can be fronted (as in Chile), and in Canarian Spanish it is often slightly retracted, voiced, and more (p.389) occlusive, making its articulation similar to some allophones of /ʝ/ (so that muchacho can sound like muyayo to outsiders) (Alvar and Quilis 1966).

22.2.2.3 Fricatives

Asturian and Aragonese retain Latin /f/: Lat. FARĪNAM > Ast. farina ‘flour’, Lat. FORTEM > fuerte ‘strong’, Lat. FRIG(I)DUM > Ast. fríu ‘cold’, Ara. farina, fuerte, frío. Spanish is distinguished by the change /f/ > [h], except before liquids and [w] (with medieval phonologization of /h/ in contrast to /f/; see Penny 2002:90-94). Subsequently, [h] has been lost in prestige varieties despite retention in orthography: harina, fuerte, frío. In Spanish and Asturian, /f/ is articulated [f] in standard or prestige varieties/styles but also as [ɸ] in popular/rural varieties (Aragonese tends to conserve labiodental articulations). The bilabial is often realized as [ʍ] before [w]: [ʍweɾte] fuerte ‘strong’, which may be perceived—and therefore reproduced—as [f], [h], or [x]. Judaeo-Spanish shares the patterns of change and variation of Spanish; however, where maintained, initial /f/ is normally pronounced as a labiodental. In the speech of Salonika and parts of the Balkans /f/ was maintained in contexts where it was lost in Spanish ([ˈfoɾno] horno). In Judaeo-Spanish historical /f/ before [w] is realized in some communities as [x]: [xwe] fue ‘(s)he.was’; [aˈfweɾa]~[aˈxweɾa] afuera ‘outside’; [ˈfweɾsa]~[ˈxweɾsa] fuerza ‘power’ (Quintana Rodríguez 2006:93-100); similar pronunciations can be found in the popular Spanish of Spain and Latin America.

The development of the central Ibero-Romance sibilants is unique within Romance. Medieval central Ibero-Romance had six sibilant phonemes (Penny 2002:98): predorsal /ʦ/ and /ʣ/, apical /s̺/ and /z̺/, and prepalatal /ʃ/ and /ʒ/. The predorsal affricates weakened to fricatives in all varieties. Only Mirandese conserves six phonemes. Judaeo-Spanish retains voiced and voiceless phonemes, but has lost contrast between predorsal and apical fricatives:

  • /s/ (< /ʦ/ /s̺/): [paˈsaɾ] pasar ‘move’, [sjen] cien ‘hundred’

  • /z/ (< /ʣ/ /z̺/): [deˈziɾ]~[diˈziɾ] decir ‘to say’, [ˈkoza] cosa ‘thing’

  • /ʃ/: [ˈbaʃo] bajo ‘low’ (also frequent before /k/: [buʃˈkaɾ] buscar ‘to seek’)

  • /ʒ/: [moˈʒaðo] mojado ‘wet’.

The phoneme /ʒ/ has an allophone [ʤ] which probably existed in old Spanish and has often been regularized in word-initial position: [ˈʤoven]~[ˈʒoven] joven ‘young’. However, borrowings have introduced consistent [ʒ] in word-initial position ([ʒuɾˈnal] ‘newspaper’ < French) and consistent [ʤ] in word-medial position (/kaveˈʤi/ ‘coffee-shop owner’ from Turkish). Moreover, [ʤ] consistently substitutes medieval /ʣ/ in a few words: [ˈdoʤe] doce ‘twelve’, cf. OSp. dodze. These facts suggest to some observers that a split has occurred between /ʒ/ and /ʤ/, at least in some varieties (Penny 2000:180).

The sibilants of all other varieties have suffered devoicing, which began in medieval Spanish and spread to other varieties. In Aragonese, the sibilant system was reduced to four phonemes:

  • /θ‎/ (< /ʦ/ /ʣ/): caza ‘hunt’, cient ‘hundred’

  • /s/ (< /s̺/ /z̺/): casa ‘house’, espeso ‘thick’

  • /ʃ/2 (< /ʃ/): [ˈka(j)ʃa] caixa ‘box’

  • /ʧ/ (< /ʒ/ and [ʤ] < I-, GE-/I-): choven ‘young’, cheneral ‘general’, prochecto ‘project’

In Asturian, devoicing left only three voiceless phonemes, distinguished by point of articulation:

  • /θ‎/ (< /ʦ/ /ʣ/): caza ‘hunt’, cien ‘hundred’

  • /s/ (< /s̺/ /z̺/): casa ‘house’, espesu ‘thick’

  • /ʃ/ (< /ʃ/ /ʒ/): caxa ‘box’, xeneral ‘general’

The early modern Spanish system showed a three-way contrast: predorsal /s/ vs apical /s̺/ vs prepalatal /ʃ/. In the Spanish of Castile, phonemic distinctions were reinforced by fronting the first phoneme to [θ‎] and backing the last to a [x]:

  • /θ‎/ (< /ʦ/ /ʣ/): caza ‘hunt’, cien ‘hundred’

  • /s/ (< /s̺/ /z̺/): casa ‘house’, espeso ‘thick’

  • /x/ (< /ʃ/ /ʒ/): caja ‘box’, general ‘general’

Apical /s̺/ retains contrastive value (vs predorsal /s/) only in Mirandese, but [s̺] has long been retained as the dominant allophone of /s/ in the north of Spain. Today, non-apical articulations of /s/ are increasingly common in the Spanish of Castile ([ˈkas̺a] or [ˈkasa] casa ‘house’), while /x/ is normally articulated as a uvular fricative or trill [χ‎] ([ˈχ‎oɾχ‎e] Jorge). In this and other conservative varieties of Spanish, as well as Asturian, Aragonese, and Judaeo-Spanish, syllable-final /s/ before voiced consonants is often voiced ([ˈmizmo] mismo ʻsameʼ). In Andalusian and Latin American Spanish, sibilant devoicing was accompanied by merger of /ʦ/ /ʣ/ and /s̺/ /z̺/. The result was a single phoneme /s/. As a result of these changes, the sibilants have been reduced to just two phonemes in Andalusia and America:

  • /s/ (< /ʦ/ /ʣ/ /s̺/ /z̺/): casa ‘house’, caza ‘hunt’, cien ‘hundred’

  • /x/ (< /ʃ/ /ʒ/): caja ‘box’, general ‘general’

In urban and northern varieties of Andalusian Spanish, and in most Latin American varieties, the primary allophone of /s/ is predorsal [s] (a pronunciation known as seseo). However, in some rural varieties of Andalusia and (p.390) Central America, the primary allophone is a non-sibilant post-dental fricative (a pronunciation known as ceceo). In some Latin American varieties (e.g. Argentina, central Mexico), the primary allophone of /x/ remains [x]: [ˈxoɾxe] Jorge. However, in much of Andalusia and Latin America (e.g. Caribbean, highland Colombia), [x] has been replaced by [h]: [ˈhoɾhe] Jorge.

In much of southern Spain, the Caribbean, and coastal Latin American, syllable-final /s/ is prone to weakening; [los ˈkaskos] los cascos ‘the headphones’ may be articulated with aspiration of sibilants [loh ˈkahkoh], gemination [lok ˈkakko], or deletion [lo ˈkako] (Alba 2004). Judaeo-Spanish and Spanish both have a phoneme /x/, but they appear to be of different origin. Words of Hebrew and Arabic origin, such as [alˈħað] ‘Sunday’ (< Arabic) and [ˈmaʕla-ˈmata] ‘approximately’ (< Hebrew), are pronounced with pharyngeal /ħ/ /ʕ/ and glottal /h/ by Judaeo-Spanish speakers who have lived in the vicinity of Arabic speakers (e.g. in north Africa and Jerusalem). However, most Judaeo-Spanish speakers pronounce these elements as velar fricative [x] or delete them entirely (Schwarzwald 1981).

22.2.2.4 Nasals

Spanish, Asturian, and Aragonese have three nasal phonemes: /m/ /n/ /ɲ/. In Spanish, these can appear in word- and syllable-initial position (though /ɲ/ is rare in this position), while only /n/ is normally found in word-final or prepausal position: Sp. mamá ‘mum’, nena ‘girl’, ñoño ‘silly’, pan ‘bread’. Asturian generally follows this pattern, but alternates /n/~/ɲ/ word-initially: nube~ñube ‘cloud’. In eastern Aragonese (Ribagorzan), final /m/ can appear (podem ‘we.can’, Betlem ‘Bethlehem’, cf. Sp. Belén); as can final /ɲ/: estany ‘tin’ (cf. Sp. estaño). Most Judaeo-Spanish varieties have reanalyzed /ɲ/ as [n.j]: JuSp. [es.pan.ˈjol] vs Sp. [es.pa.ˈɲol] español ‘Spanish’. Under the influence of Hebrew and Aramaic, Judaeo-Spanish also allows word-final [m]: [jeɾuʃaˈlaim] Jerusalén ‘Jerusalem’; it also assimilates word-initial /n/ to following [w]: [ˈmwevo] nuevo ‘new’.

In all varieties of central Ibero-Romance, nasals regularly assimilate to the point of articulation of a following consonant, within and across words: Sp. [emˈbjaɾ] enviar ‘to send’, [ˈeɱfasis] énfasis ‘emphasis’, [en̪toˈleðo] en Toledo ‘in Toledo’, [kanˈsaɾ] cansar ‘to tire’, [ˈteŋɡo] tengo ‘I have’. However, sequences of nasals are often distinguished in formal, standard Spanish: [ˈimno] himno ‘hymn’. In Asturian, word-final /n/ is often velarized before vowels, pauses, and nasals: fabla[ŋ] ‘they speak’, [eŋmarˈkaɾ] enmarcar ‘to frame’. In western Andalusia velarization of final nasals occurs most frequently before a pause, while in the Caribbean [ŋ] is frequent in all word-final contexts, including before vowels, and in some varieties before non-velar consonants as well. Deletion of final nasals after nasalization of preceding vowels is frequent in the Caribbean: [kõ pã] con pan ‘with bread’.

22.2.2.5 Laterals

All varieties of central Ibero-Romance retain /l/, which can be found in word/syllable initial and final contexts, regularly pronounced as an alveolar lateral. The lateral suffers assimilation to the point of articulation only of following coronal consonants, within and across words: Sp. [ˈkal̪do] caldo ʻbrothʼ, [elˈθ‎esto] el cesto ʻthe basketʼ, [kolʲˈʧon] colchón ʻmattressʼ. In western Andalusia, syllable-final /l/ is often articulated as [ɾ] (cf. [ˈaɾma] alma ‘soul’; cf. arma ‘weapon’).

All varieties of central Ibero-Romance once had a palatal lateral /ʎ/, in word- and syllable-initial position only. Today, Asturian and Aragonese conserve /ʎ/, as do a few varieties of Spanish. However, the distribution of the phoneme is different in each variety due to different historical developments. In all varieties, -LL- developed to /ʎ/ (e.g. CASTELLUM > Sp. castillo ‘castle’) and -LIV-, -C’L-, -G’L- developed to /ʎ/, but only Aragonese retains this stage (MULIEREM > Ara. muller ‘woman’, Ast. muyer, Sp. mujer); in Asturian and Spanish, initial PL‑, CL-, FL- frequently developed to /ʎ/ (e.g. CLAUEM > Sp./Ast. llave ‘key’ vs Ara. clau); in Asturian (and eastern Aragonese) word-initial L- developed to /ʎ/ (LUNAM > lluna ‘moon’ vs Sp./Ara. luna). A noteworthy feature of eastern Aragonese (Ribagorzan) is the retention of /ʎ/ in reflexes of initial PL, CL, FL: [pʎoˈɾaɾ] [kʎaw] [ˈfʎama] (see Tuten 2003:138, 289). In some western Asturian varieties /ʎ/ is realized as one of several (usually) affricate sounds, including [ʦ], which are referred to collectively as che vaqueira and represented with a special grapheme: ḷḷuna ‘moon’ (similar phenomena have been identified in Aragonese). In western Astur-Leonese, initial PL-, CL-, FL- which did not undergo palatalization converted /l/ to /ɾ/: praza ‘plaza’.

In Spanish, /ʎ/ is retained only in Spain (among older, rural speakers, particularly in the north), the Andes, and Paraguay. Elsewhere, palatal lateral /ʎ/ and palatal fricative /ʝ/ have merged, creating homophones such as [ˈbaʝa] vaya ‘go.PRS.SBJV.3SG’, baya ‘berry’, and valla ‘fence’. In Spanish, this merger (known as yeísmo) now represents the prestige norm. Judaeo-Spanish has also lost /ʎ/, normally through the delateralization typical of yeísmo: [ʝaˈmaɾ] llamar ‘to call’. Since Judaeo-Spanish had previously merged [lj] with [ʎ], words which had this sequence now show /ʝ/: [kaˈjenti] caliente ‘hot’ (Penny 2000:180).

22.2.2.6 Rhotics

Spanish, Asturian, and Aragonese contrast tap /ɾ/ and trill /r/ in intervocalic position: Sp. pero ‘but’ vs perro ‘dog’. The (p.391) trill is regular in word-initial position (Ast. rede ‘net’, Sp. red, Ara. ret) and following word-internal alveolar consonants /n/ /l/ /s/: Ast. vienres ‘Friday’, Sp. alrededor ‘around’. The tap is found in consonant clusters: Ast./Ara. prau, Sp. prado ‘meadow’. In syllable- and word-final position (Sp. cortar ‘to cut’), the opposition is neutralized; [ɾ] is unmarked, while [r] is often used to mark emphasis. In Asturian and Aragonese, final /ɾ/ tends to be elided in infinitives followed by a clitic, although this is not reflected in Aragonese orthography: Ast. velu, Ara. veyer-lo ‘to.see=him/it’. Aragonese also tends to elide /r/ phrase-finally and when followed by the plural morpheme /s/: [baˈlos] valors ‘values’.

It is often claimed that Judaeo-Spanish no longer contrasts /ɾ/ and /r/ (Penny 2000:178), since neither traditional nor modern orthography has marked a distinction between them. However, the opposition is sometimes realized in certain forms: [ˈpeɾo] pero ‘but’ vs [ˈpero] perro ‘dog’. In Spanish, both /r/ and /ɾ/ show variation in their articulation. For instance, /r/ is often articulated as a retroflex sibilant in La Rioja (Spain), Mexico, the Andes, and Argentina, while it is often partially or fully devoiced in Caribbean varieties. In Puerto Rico /r/ is velarized in rural speech. Final /ɾ/ is often lateralized in Caribbean varieties, allowing both arma ‘weapon’ and alma ‘soul’ to be articulated as [ˈalma]. In some varieties (e.g. in the Dominican Republic and Cuba), syllable-final /ɾ/ undergoes a range of weakening processes, including aspiration, gemination, nasalization, vocalization, deletion: [ˈpah.te], [ˈpat.te], [ˈpaŋ.te], [ˈpaj.te], [ˈpa.te] for parte ‘part’.

22.2.2.7 /ʝ/ and initial [w]-

The phoneme /ʝ/ is typically articulated as a voiced slit fricative [ʝ] or glide [j] in all central Ibero-Romance varieties. Its distribution is not the same in all varieties, since it developed from different sources, such as onglides of diphthongs in initial position, delateralization of /ʎ/, and glide epenthesis (typical of Asturian, Aragonese, and Judaeo-Spanish): yo ‘I’, yegua ‘mare’, Ast. mayu, Sp./Ara. mayo ‘May’, Ast. muyer ‘woman; wife’ (cf. Sp. mujer, Ara. muller, JuSp. [muˈʒeɾ]), Ast./Ara. creyer (cf. Sp. creer) ‘to believe’, JuSp. [koˈmijan] comían ‘they ate’. In Spanish, at least, a number of variant articulations have developed: [ʒ], [ʤ], [ɟ]. Variants [ʒ] and [ʃ] are typical of Buenos Aires, with younger speakers preferring [ʃ]. In many varieties, some or all of [j] [ʝ] [ʒ] [ʤ] [ɟ] alternate in the speech of single speakers. In Asturian, [j] or [ʝ] alternate with stop or affricate [ɟ], which tends to appear after pauses and nasals (cf. Mott 2007:106 for Aragonese). This pattern, which often includes post-lateral contexts, follows that of the obstruents /b/ /d/ /g/ and is increasingly current in many varieties of Spanish (e.g. in central Spain, Puerto Rico). In Spanish, words written with initial hi+V (hierba ‘grass’ < HĚRBAM) present an interesting case. Literate speakers tend to articulate only [j] in initial position; however, popular, casual speech favours strengthening that is typical of /ʝ/. This is reflected in informal Spanish writing (e.g. yerba, which is also the standard Asturian form). Judaeo-Spanish prefers [j] for phoneme /ʝ/ and for words written with hi+V: [jo] yo ‘I’, [ˈjave] llave ‘key’, [ˈjeɾva] hierba ‘grass’.

Word-initial [w] is found in diphthongized reflexes of initial Latin Ŏ (Lat. OS(SUM) > hueso ‘bone’) but also in borrowings such as huipil/güipil ‘Guatemalan blouse’. In prestige use, speakers are careful to articulate [w] (analysable as a glide realization of /u/), at least in some words (hueso ‘bone’). However, the initial consonant in these words is often strengthened to a fricative [ɣw], with simultaneous articulation of the labial and velar aspects (suggesting a separate phoneme /w/), or even to a stop + glide: [ɡw]. The stop articulation [ɡw] is clearly sequential and suggests a realization of two existing phonemes: /ɡ/ and /u/, as in Sp. guardia ‘guard’. Therefore, illiterate speakers may have in mind /gu/+V and vary between stronger and weaker articulations of this, as in [ˈa(ɣ)wa] agua ‘water’.

In other varieties initial strengthening has become the norm, but in Judaeo-Spanish, [we] is reinforced not only in initial position ([ˈɣwezmo]~[ˈɡwezmo/u] OSp. huesmo ‘smell’) but also in post-consonantal position, so that [ˈʤweves] jueves ‘Thursday’ becomes [ʤuˈɣweves]~[ʤuˈɡweves]. In other forms, the resyllabification required by strengthening is accomplished through vowel prothesis: [elˈɣweɣo] luego ‘later’ (Penny 2000:179). When the preceding consonant is voiceless, the reinforcing labiovelar element devoices to [ʍ], reanalysed as [f] or [x]; thus, Sp. sueño ‘sleep, dream’ may be realized as [ˈswenjo]~[eʃˈfwenjo]~[eʃˈxwenjo] (Penny 2000:179; Quintana Rodríguez 2006:33-40).

22.2.3 Prosody

22.2.3.1 Syllable structure

Central Ibero-Romance varieties share similar constraints on syllable structure. Nuclei may include monophthongs, diphthongs, or triphthongs. Word-internal and word-medial onsets are limited to single consonants or obstruent + liquid clusters (Sp. ma.dre ‘mother’); three segments are not allowed in onsets. Judaeo-Spanish variably accepts tautosyllabic /s/-+ stop (+ liquid) in onsets (JuSp. [spon.ˈʤaɾ]~[esponˈʤaɾ] esponjar ‘rinse’), but Spanish, Asturian, and Aragonese do not, requiring resyllabification and prothetic /e/ in both inherited words and borrowings with such clusters: Sp. [es.kɾi.ˈβ‎iɾ] escribir (< SCRIBERE) ‘to write’, [esˈtɾes] estrés ‘stress’. Interestingly, Judaeo-Spanish accepts initial consonant clusters in Spanish words (brodar ‘to embroider’), but not (p.392) in Hebrew loanwords ([beɾaˈxa] ‘blessing’ cf. ModHeb. braxa, [sefaˈɾað] ‘Spain’ cf. ModHeb. Sfarad).

Central Ibero-Romance varieties strongly favour open syllables. Coda consonants tend to suffer weakening and deletion (see above) and syllable codas permit far fewer consonants than onsets. Word-medial consonants are attached to a preceding syllable if they cannot be syllabified as an onset; thus **/st/ is disallowed in Sp. cons.tan.te ‘constant’. In Spanish, word-medial codas include stops and /f/, usually found in learnèd borrowings, as well as more frequent /s θ‎ n l ɾ/: asco ‘disgust’, manta ‘blanket’; Judaeo-Spanish allows word-medial /x/. Word-medial coda clusters are found exclusively in learnèd forms (e.g. /eks.tra.ˈer/ extraer ‘to.extract’), which historically have been prone to simplification: [es.tɾa.ˈeɾ]. Word-final codas are even more tightly constrained: stops are found only in recent borrowings, but /s n l ɾ r/ are allowed in all varieties (Sp. mes ‘month’, pan ‘bread’, papel ‘paper’, vivir ‘to live’). Spanish and Judaeo-Spanish allow /d/ and /x/ (Sp. reloj ‘watch’); borrowings in Judaeo-Spanish show numerous coda consonants not normally found in Spanish. Aragonese allows /ʃ/ (peix ‘fish’) and /t/ (cf. Ara. virtut ‘virtue’ , Sp. virtud, Ast. virtú), though this is often deleted. Final /θ‎/ occurs in Asturian, Aragonese, and Spanish of Castile: paz ‘peace’.

Word-final consonant clusters are traditionally disallowed. In Aragonese, final vowel deletion has created final consonant clusters in /nt/ /st/ and /ɾt/, but these are usually simplified: Ara. [pwen] puent/puen ‘bridge’. Addition of plural morpheme /s/ has also created coda clusters such as /ns/ /ls/ /ɾs/ (Ara. belsetáns ‘inhabitants of Bielsa’), which are disallowed in Spanish, but these too are sometimes subject to simplification: Ara. [koɾðés] corders ‘lambs’. In Spanish, newer borrowings are often pronounced (at least by younger speakers) with final consonants (see above) and clusters (in plurals with /s/) that are traditionally disallowed: chefs, pósters.

In spoken discourse, resyllabification of consonants and vowels is normal in all varieties/styles (e.g. Sp. ha.bla.n es.pa.ñol ‘they.speak Spanish’). In faster speech, various processes can lead to synalepha; contiguous same vowels may coalesce ([menˈkan̪ta] me encanta ‘to.me= it.enchants (= I love it)’, different vowels may each shorten (['es.te̯o̯ɾ.ðe.na.ˈðoɾ] este ordenador ‘this computer’), suffer diphthongization ([mjeɾ.ˈma.na] mi hermana ‘my sister’), or deletion, which is common in all popular varieties (Ast. [me.ˈnu.ðas.ˈtɾo.θ‎a] menuda estroza ‘quite.a disaster’) and sometimes represented orthographically (Ara. m’has visto ‘me=have.PRS.IND.2SG seen (=you have seen me)’.

22.2.3.2 Stress and rhythm

In central Ibero-Romance, most classes of words, aside from function words such as prepositions and conjunctions, carry stress on one syllable (and, at least in Spanish, secondary stress occurs only as a rhetorical device). Some compounds (pez espada ‘fish sword (= swordfish)’) and adverbs ending in -mente ([ˈrapiðaˈmente] rápidamente ‘quickly’) carry two primary stresses (Hualde 2013:161-3). Stress in central Ibero-Romance is unpredictable and phonemic; it may fall on the final syllable ([pɾaktiˈko] practicó ‘practiced.PRT.3SG’), the penultimate ([pɾakˈtiko] practico ‘practice.PRS.IND.1SG’), or the antepenultimate (Sp. [ˈpɾaktiko] práctico ‘practical’). Stress can fall only on one of the last three syllables of conventional words; in standard varieties, enclitics may be written as part of the verb (with indication of pre-antepenultimate stress) but do not influence lexical stress placement: cf. Sp. ¡pásamelo! ‘pass.IMP.2SG=to.me=it (= pass it to me)’. Two generalizations can be made about stress placement. First, in the Spanish of Castile, Asturian, and Aragonese, words ending in a consonant other than /s/ or /n/ are normally oxytones: Sp. [ka.ˈpaθ‎] capaz ‘capable’, Sp. verdad, Ara. verdat ‘truth’, Sp./Ast./Ara. pasar ‘to pass’ (in Latin American Spanish and Judaeo-Spanish, words where final /θ‎/ is replaced by /s/ remain as oxytones: Lat. Am. Sp. [kaˈpas] capaz ‘capable’ vs [ˈkapas] capas ‘layers’). Second, the great majority of words ending in a vowel, /n/ or /s/ show stress on the penultimate syllable: Sp. [ˈaβ‎lo]/[ˈaβ‎las]/[ˈaβ‎lan] hablo/hablas/hablan ‘speak.PRS.IND.1SG/2SG/3PL’, JuSp. [ˈbovo] bobo ‘stupid’, Ast. faltosu ‘stupid’, Ara. mesmo ‘same’. Exceptions to these two patterns also occur: Sp./Ast. [ˈlapiθ‎]/[ˈʎapiθ‎] lápiz/llápiz ‘pencil’. Proparoxytones are always exceptional within the general stress patterns of central Ibero-Romance: Sp. física ‘physics’, JuSp. [ˈmuzika] música ‘music’. These are often learnèd borrowings and thus less frequent in the rural varieties of Asturian and Aragonese; indeed Aragonese often converts them to paroxytones: [ˈmeðiko]~[meˈðiko] médico ‘doctor’. Judaeo-Spanish retains original stress in borrowings and this creates numerous exceptions to the tendencies of Spanish: cf. Hebrew borrowings [saˈdik] ‘righteous person’ and [ˈsadik] ‘name of the eighteenth Hebrew letter’.

Given its relative lack of difference in quantity or quality between tonic and atonic vowels, Spanish is often characterized as having ‘syllable-timing’ (a perception of regularity in the timing of all syllabic sonority peaks, rather than only the sonority peaks of stressed syllables). This classification is undoubtedly an oversimplification, since prosody leads to lengthening of some stressed vowels (see below), and the segments which make up each syllable contribute to differences in syllable length (e.g. low vowels are longer than high vowels; voiceless stops are longer than voiced stops; a trill is longer than a tap), but it is also true that tight constraints on onsets and codas contribute to less variation in the length of these units. If ‘syllable-timing’ and ‘stress-timing’ are understood as points on a continuum, it seems (p.393) clear that Spanish (and central Ibero-Romance generally) is better characterized by ‘syllable-timed’.

22.2.3.3 Intonation

Intonation varies greatly in different varieties of central Ibero-Romance and Spanish, but in all varieties, lexically-stressed syllables serve as anchoring points for pitch changes, and intonation peaks associated with a stressed syllable are often realized on the post-tonic (however, citation and emphatic forms show intonation peaks, along with increases in intensity and duration, on the stressed syllable).

In prototypical broad focus declarative sentences of Spanish (Manuel nos mandó un regalo ‘Manuel to.us= sent a gift’), the prenucleus begins with low pitch, followed by a rise on the first tonic syllable and a peak on the post-tonic. Subsequent prenuclear peaks are also realized on post-tonics but are progressively downstepped. The stressed syllable of the sentence nucleus is realized with the lowest peak (or with a continuous fall in pitch), followed by a gradual decline. Despite its lower intonation peak, the last stressed syllable is often lengthened and perceived as having greater prominence than preceding accents (thus Spanish often prefers to place focalized items in final position). This general pattern holds for most varieties of Spanish (but see Sosa 1999:189; Hualde 2005:275), Istanbul Judaeo-Spanish (but see Hualde and Saul 2011:105), Chistabino Aragonese (but cf. Mott 2010:58), and Asturian (see further Alvarellos Pedrero et al. 2011).

Unmarked pronominal questions (¿Quién nos mandó el regalo? ‘Who to.us= sent the gift?’) are realized with a falling contour similar to that of declaratives. However, the stressed syllable of the question word is articulated with the highest pitch (often without displacement of the peak), with other accents downstepped and a fall after the final stressed syllable. A final rise is used in some pronominal questions in order to mark politeness or tentativeness. These patterns appear in all varieties of central Ibero-Romance, but for the Chistabino variety of Aragonese, Mott (2010:66) provides evidence of unmarked use of final rises in this question type.

Prototypical yes/no questions often do not differ from declaratives in their syntax, so intonation is crucial for their pragmatic marking (cf. María te dejó una llave ‘María to.you left a key’ and ¿María te dejó una llave? ‘Did María leave you a key?’). In most varieties of Spanish and Istanbul Judaeo-Spanish, the last stressed syllable is articulated with a low pitch followed by a sharp rise; the prenucleus is like that of declaratives, but, as in pronominal questions, the entire sentence is often articulated in a higher pitch range (Sosa 1999:198; Alvarellos Pedrero et al. 2011 for Asturian). In Caribbean Spanish and Asturian (as in Galician), a circumflex pattern is preferred for unmarked yes/no questions; in this pattern, pitch rises to a peak on the first accented syllable and continues high until the final accented syllable (without downsteps), and is then followed by a sharp final fall (Sosa 1999:204; Hualde 2005:270; López Bobo et al. 2008). Mott (2010:66) provides evidence of a similar pattern in Chistabino Aragonese. For comparative analysis of a range of Spanish varieties, see Prieto and Roseano (2010a). see also §22.4.3.4.

22.2.4 Orthography

The modern writing systems used to represent central Ibero-Romance varieties are largely phonemic. Table 22.1 presents the phoneme–grapheme correspondences in each orthography as most recently specified by relevant authorities of Spanish (Real Academia Española 2010) and Asturian (Academia de la Llingua Asturiana 2005). There is no commonly accepted orthographic system for Aragonese; some systems are more phonemic, such as the ‘norms of Huesca’ (Consello d’a Fabla Aragonesa 1987), and others more etymological, such as that of the Academia de l’Aragonés (2010); we represent the more recent norms below and generally employ them in this chapter. The case of Judaeo-Spanish is more complicated. During the twentieth century, many Sephardic communities started using Roman scripts (Bunis 1992; 1999:73f.). A particularly well-known Roman script (much influenced by English orthography) is that developed and used by the journal Aki Yerushalayim since 1979, which we represent below in the column labelled ‘JuSp.-AY’. However, from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, Judaeo-Spanish was usually written with the Hebrew alphabet, which is primarily consonantal and read from right to left (Schwarzwald 2002; Orfali 2010). Two principal scripts were used: the Hebrew square form for printed liturgical texts (which often included vocalization, or the use of diacritics to indicate vowels, as in אוֹרְדֵין‎ [ˈoɾden] ‘order’), and the Rashi script for most other texts (without vocalization, as in אורדין‎). Both scripts are represented in the right-hand column of Table 22.1. Note that an empty cell indicates that a particular phoneme is not conventionally considered relevant for that variety. Parentheses appear around letters used only in marked foreign borrowings.

Other sound–grapheme correspondences occur which are not included in Table 22.1. For instance, the letter h is used in Spanish, Asturian, and Aragonese but does not correspond to a phone in the standards: Sp. [ˈombɾe] hombre ‘man’. The sequence /ks/ is sometimes represented by x in Spanish, Aragonese, and JuSp.-AY (where it may also represent /ɡz/): Sp. [ekˈsamen]~[eɣˈsamen] examen ‘exam’, JuSp. (p.394) (p.395) [egzaˈmen]. Judaeo-Spanish /ks/ was also represented by ס‎ק ק‎ס‎ or ז‎ג ג‎ז‎ in the Hebrew scripts. In Judaeo-Spanish Hebrew scripts, the aleph (א א‎) was used before any initial vowel and between word-medial vowels.

Table 22.1 Conventional phoneme–grapheme correspondences of central Ibero-Romance

Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish

In Spanish and Asturian, any word which does not follow the general tendencies of lexical stress must be written with an accent mark (in the 2010 Aragonese norms, use of accent marks is restricted to cases of possible confusion, such as verb forms). In Spanish, exceptional forms include all proparoxytones (rápido ‘fast’), oxytones which end in a vowel, -n or -s (plató ‘film set’, relación ‘relation’), and paroxytones which end in any other consonant letter (huésped ‘guest’). Written accents are also used to indicate hiatus in cases where they could otherwise be read as diphthongs (Sp. [ba.ˈul] baúl ‘trunk’, [fi.lo.so.ˈfi.a] filosofía ‘philosophy’) and as a diacritic to distinguish some common homophones (Sp. atonic tu ‘your.2SG’ vs tonic ‘you.2SG’). Finally, a distinctive characteristic of Spanish (and Asturian and Aragonese) punctuation is the use of inverted question and exclamation marks (¿Quién eres? ‘Who are you?’, ¡Es increíble! ‘It’s incredible!’), which signal the relevant sentence types from the beginning of the phrase.

22.3 Morphology

22.3.1 Nominal group

22.3.1.1 Nouns and adjectives

In central Ibero-Romance most nouns can be grouped into three inflectional classes based on singular forms: class I, ending in -a, continues the Latin first declension (Sp. amiga ‘friend.FSG’); class II, ending in -o (Ast. -u) continues the Latin second declension (Sp. amigo ‘friend.MSG’, Ast. amigu); class III, ending in -e or a consonant, continues the Latin third declension (Sp. puente ‘bridge.MSG’, fuente ‘fountain.FSG’, mar ‘sea.M/FSG’, nación ‘nation.FSG’). Borrowings are usually adapted to one of these classes, though some cannot be classified within this schema: whisky/güisqui ‘whisky.MSG’ < Eng. whisky, JuSp. [zaˈxu]~[zaˈxuð] ‘prerogative.MSG’ < Heb. zəxut. Inherited nouns usually derive from Latin accusative forms, though some relics of other cases remain (e.g. UENERIS ‘(day) of Venus’ > viernes ‘Friday’). Case marking has been lost in central Ibero-Romance, except for residual markings found in personal pronouns, but gender and number inflections are retained.

Every noun is either masculine or feminine; a very few Latin plural neuters are retained as feminine singular with collective meaning (cf. Sp. leño ‘log.MSG’ < LIGNUM ‘wood.NSG’ but leña ‘firewood.FSG’ < LIGNA ‘(pieces of) wood.NPL’). Most class I nouns are feminine, class II are masculine, and class III are either masculine or feminine. Exceptions to these patterns exist (Sp. día ‘day.M’, mapa ‘map.M’, problema ‘problem.M’; mano ‘hand.F’). Since class III nouns show no overt marking for gender, they are prone to variation within and across varieties. Thus, calor ‘heat’ is masculine in standard Spanish, can be feminine in non-standard varieties (Andalusia, Río de la Plata, the Andes), and is normally feminine (though still variable) in Asturian, Aragonese, and Judaeo-Spanish. Some terms are masculine or feminine according to context of use (Sp. mar ‘sea’, Ast. sangre ‘blood’, Ara. clin ‘mane’). Gender of nouns which refer to inanimate objects is arbitrary. Nouns with animate referents normally allow gender alternation (Sp. un niño/una niña ‘a boy/a girl’, señor/señora ʻMr/Mrsʼ), although epicenes exist (e.g. Sp. persona ‘person’ and serpiente ‘serpent’ are feminine independent of the sex of the referent) and some forms do not mark gender overtly (e.g. Sp. periodista ‘journalist’ can be masculine or feminine). In Spanish, overt marking of sexual gender is increasing, with some nouns in -ta developing a masculine form ending in -to (modisto ‘fashion designer.M’) and some masculine nouns ending in -e developing a distinct feminine form in -a (jefe/jefa ‘boss’; presidente/presidenta ‘president’; Kattán-Ibarra and Pountain 2003:11-15; Batchelor and San José 2010:64-83). Historically, gender was exploited to make semantic distinctions (Pountain 2005) and relics of this use persist; relative size could be (p.396) distinguished (Ast. deu (M) ‘finger, toe’, dea (F) ‘big toe’; Sp. cántaro/cántara (M/F) ‘pitcher/large pitcher’) as well as (possibly size-related) distinctions between trees and their fruits/flowers (cerezo/cereza (M/F) ‘cherry tree/cherry’, camelio/camelia (M/F) ‘camellia.tree/camellia’). In a few cases, gender changes with number (arte ‘art.MSG’ vs artes ‘arts.FPL’). Nominalized adjectives and parts of speech are masculine (Sp. el azul ‘the.MSG colour.blue’, el cómo ‘the.MSG how’).

Number is expressed by a separate morpheme. In Spanish, singular nouns ending in a vowel mark the plural with -s (Sp. perro/perros ‘dog/s’; casa/casas ‘house/s’; cantante/cantantes ‘singer/s’). Those ending in a consonant do so with -es (Sp. profesor/profesores ‘teacher/s’; voz/voces ‘voice/s’), as may standard Spanish words ending in a tonic vowel: esquí/esquís/esquíes ‘ski/s’. Those ending in atonic vowel + s have identical plurals (martes ‘Tuesday/s’), while those ending in a tonic vowel + -s add -es (ciprés/cipreses ‘cypress/-es’). In Aragonese, plurals may add -s directly after a consonant (mon(t)s ‘mountains’); words ending in -ero form the plural by placing -s immediately after the root (cordero/corders ‘lamb/s’). In some varieties, historical final /t/ + plural /s/ has developed to /θ‎/: Ara. [toθ‎] totz/toz ‘all.MPL’ vs tot ‘all.MSG’. In Asturian, plural marking includes vowel alternation: masculine ‑u/-os (llobu/llobos ‘wolf/-ves’), feminine -a/-es (casa/cases ‘house/s’). Judaeo-Spanish sometimes employs Hebrew endings for masculine plural /-ím/ and feminine plural ‑/ot/ (pronounced [oð]): [laˈðɾones]~[laðɾoˈnim] ‘thieves’, [maˈkas]~[maˈkoð] ‘plagues’ (< Heb. makka).

Both predicative and attributive adjectives agree in gender with the noun to which they refer: una calle larga ‘a.FSG street.FSG long.FSGʼ; la calle es larga ‘ the.FSG street.FSG is long.FSG’. Most adjectives show the same set of inflectional classes as nouns (I: Sp. buena ‘good.FSG’, II: Sp. bueno ‘good.MSG’, III: Sp. fuerte ‘strong.SG’). Adjectives mark plural as do nouns (buena/buenas ‘good.FSG/FPL’, bueno/buenos ‘good.MSG/PL’, fuerte/fuertes ‘strong.SG/PL’, trabajador/trabajadores/trabajadora/trabajadoras ‘hardworking.MSG/MPL/FSG/FPL’; cf. Ast. FPL trabayadores). Adjectives ending in -sta or -ta as well as those ending in -e are invariant for gender (Sp. egoísta ‘selfish’, inteligente ‘intelligent’, difícil ‘difficult’). Adjectives ending in consonants often do not mark gender overtly (cortés ‘courteous.SG’). However, there is variation across varieties (cf. Sp. nacional ‘national.SG’ and JuSp. [nasjoˈnal/a] ‘national.M/FSG’), and a subset of consonant-final adjectives (along with their nominalized forms) regularly mark feminine gender by adding -a: e.g. those ending in ‑dor/-dora (as in trabajador/a ‘hardworking.M/F’) and in -és/-esa (francés ‘French.MSG’, francesa ‘French.FSG’). A few masculine singular adjectives (e.g. bueno ‘good’, primero ‘first’) delete the final vowel before nouns and grande shortens to gran before masculine and feminine singular nouns: un buen vino ‘a.MSG good.MSG wine.MSG’; una gran mujer ‘a.FSG great.SG woman’).

22.3.1.2 Determiners, possessives, quantifiers, interrogatives

The definite article is derived from ILLE ‘that’. In Spanish and Judaeo-Spanish the forms are el (MSG), la (FSG), los (MPL), las (FPL). There exists a neuter article lo (Ara. el), that creates mass or generic nouns from adjectives (as well as neuter relativizers lo que ‘what’ and lo cual ‘which’): lo bueno ‘it.NSG good.MSG (= the good thing)’; lo que quieran ‘it.NSG that want.PRS.SBJV.3PL’(= whatever they may want)’. Asturian and Aragonese share similar systems, but Aragonese definite articles are o (MSG), a (FSG), os (MPL), as (FSG), and these have numerous contextual/dialectal variants (including lo/ro/l’, la/ra/l’, los/ros, las/ras), with apocopated forms appearing before vowels. Asturian and Aragonese also retain contracted forms of high-frequency preposition + article combinations: Ast./Ara. na casa ‘in.the.FSG house.FSG’ vs Sp. en la casa. The indefinite article is un (MSG) / una (FSG); plural unos and unas ‘some’ function as quantifiers. Aragonese retains a partitive article de (see §22.4.1). Demonstratives form a three-point system that correlates broadly with grammatical person: Sp. este/esta/estos/estas ‘this (near me).MSG/FSG/MPL/FPL’, ese/esa/esos/esas ‘this/that (near you)’, aquel/aquella/aquellos/aquellas ‘that (over there)’. Neuter forms esto/eso/aquello refer to propositions and assertions. Asturian (esti/esi/aquel) and Aragonese (iste/ixe/aquel) show similar forms, while Judaeo-Spanish has developed a primarily two-point system, contrasting este/esta ‘this.MSG/FSG’ and akel/akeya ‘that.MSG/FSG’.

Possessives are derived from Latin equivalents. Spanish nuestro/a/os/as ‘our.MSF/FSG/MPL/FPL’ (cf. JuSp. muestro, whose /m/ results from assimilation to following [w]) and second person plural vuestro/a/os/as ‘your.2PL’ (also JuSp. [ˈɡwestro,a,os,as]) are used as preposed and postposed (including predicate) forms, but in the singular and third person plural, separate forms have developed, with prenominal forms marked only for number (mi amigo ‘my friend’ vs un amigo mío ‘a friend of mine’): mi/s vs mío/a/s (cf. JuSp. [ˈmijo]) ‘my’, tu/s vs tuyo/a/s ‘your.2SG’, su/s vs suyo/a/s ‘his, her, its, their, your.3SG/PL, your.3PL’. Monosyllabic preposed forms are clitics in Spanish and Judaeo-Spanish, while postposed and predicate forms are tonic adjectives. Corresponding preposed forms in Asturian are tonic mió/s, to/s, so/s. Aragonese uses only bisyllabic tonic forms in all positions (os míos uellos ‘the.MPL my.MPL eyes.MPL (= my eyes)’; see also §22.4.1.1).

Quantifiers generally follow the morphological pattterns of adjectives: tanta/-s (FSG/PL) ‘so much/many’, tanto/-s (MSG/PL); bastante/-s (SG/PL) ‘enough’. The quantifier cada ‘each’ is invariable. Numerals (other than uno/-a ‘one.M/F’ and multiples of 100) are also uninflected (dos casas ‘two houses.FPL’ but doscientas casas ‘two.hundred.FPL houses.FPL’), but western Asturian retains duas/dues ‘two.FPL’. Most interrogatives (p.397) are similar to those of other Romance languages: qué ‘what’; quién/-es ‘who.SG/PL’ (Ara. qui ‘who’, JuSp. ken~kien); cómo ‘how’ (Ara. quiénto ‘in what manner’); cuándo ‘when’; cuánto/-s ‘how much/many’; por qué ‘why’; dónde ‘where’ (JuSp. Ast. ónde, Ast. ú, Ara. do/don), cuál/-es ‘which.SG/PL’ (for which Judaeo-Spanish, Asturian, and Aragonese also mark gender: cuálo/-a ‘which.M/F’).

22.3.1.3 Pronouns

Table 22.2 Pronouns of standard Spanish

Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish

Central Ibero-Romance has tonic subject pronouns, tonic oblique pronouns (prepositional complements) and accusative, dative, and reflexive clitics. Basic forms of standard Spanish are presented in Table 22.2.

Usted ‘you.SG’ (< vuestra merced ‘your grace’) and ustedes ‘you.PL’ function as formal/deferential second person tonic pronouns; they mark gender only on corresponding third person clitics: a usted la conozco ‘PA you her.FSG= I.know (= I know you)’. First and second person subject plurals developed from fusion of OSp. nos and vos with otros/as ‘others.MPL/FPL’. Vos ‘you.2PL’ survives in some rural varieties of Spain, and vos ‘you.2SG’ persists in many parts of Latin America (a use known as voseo). Oblique pronouns occur after prepositions (a mí ‘to me’, de ti ‘of you.2SG’), but central Ibero-Romance shows two suppletive forms, including Sp. conmigo/contigo ‘with me/with you.SG’, which derive from combination of con ‘with’ and reflexes of MECUM/TECUM ‘me.with/you.with’ (with analogical adjustment of the tonic vowel to /i/). Only third person clitics show overt marking of case, and only third person accusative clitics show overt marking of gender (lo ‘it.MSG’ also serves for indefinite or ‘neuter’ reference). Se, along with other reflexive forms, is used as a marker of true reflexives, of reciprocals (see §22.4.1.1), and of a range of semantic contrasts in many verbs (e.g. ir ‘to go’ vs irse ‘to go away’). It is also used as a passive marker and as a subject clitic in indefinite se constructions (see §22.4.2.5). In Spanish, se (an analogical replacement of OSp. ge) also functions as an allomorph of le/les in third person dative + accusative clitic sequences: se lo di ‘to.him/her/them= it= I.gave’.

Judaeo-Spanish, Asturian, and Aragonese have similar systems with some differences in basic forms. For instance, Judaeo-Spanish shows alternating subject forms mozotros/as~mozós/ás ‘we’ (on analogy with muestro ‘our’ and clitic forms) and vozotros/vozós ‘you.2PL’. Some Aragonese varieties use third person subject forms er (MSG), era (FSG), ers (MPL), and eras (FPL). In Aragonese and some American Spanish varieties subject forms are regularized as obliques: Ara. pa tu ‘for you’, con yo ‘with I’. Asturian and Aragonese alternate first person plural clitic nos with mos, while Judaeo-Spanish uses only the latter form. Some Aragonese varieties allow el (MSG) and es (MPL) as accusative clitics; Asturian uses -y, -yos/ys, and Aragonese li, lis as third person dative clitics. Both Asturian and Aragonese show frequent apocope of clitics. Alone among central Ibero-Romance varieties, Aragonese retains adverbial clitics, including en/ne (< INDE) ‘thence; thereof’ and, less vigorously, bi/i/ibi/ie/ye (< IBI) ‘there’. En/ne typically pronominalizes (or copies) partitive and other phrases with de: no li’n fablan ‘not to.him/her= thereof= they.speak (= they don’t speak to him/her (about those things)’; m’en voi ‘me.REFL= thence= I.go (= I am going away (from here))’. After dative li/les, it can be an allomorph of third person accusative clitics: dando-li-ne ‘giving=to.him/her=it/them’. Bi/i generally pronominalizes locative and other phrases with a (e.g. datives): no i voi ‘not there= I.go (= I don’t/won’t go there)’; si/se no lo i das ‘if not it= there= give.2SG(= if you don’t give it to him/her)’. Bi has been grammaticalized in the existential haber-bi ‘there is/are’: no bi’n ha ‘not there= thereof= has.3SG (= there isn’t/aren’t (any))’.

(p.398) 22.3.1.4 Count/non-count referential systems

In central and eastern Asturian, and the Spanish of Cantabria and central-northern Castile, there exist a range of systems that mark count/non-count reference overtly (see Map 22.1). This marking is found most consistently in pronouns, including tonic pronouns (e.g. demonstrative esto ‘this.NSG’ and subject pronoun ello ‘it.NSG’ for non-count reference) and third person accusative clitics, but can also be found in adjectives and nouns.3 In Asturian and Cantabrian, accusative clitics lu (MSG) and la (FSG) pronominalize (or copy) count nouns, while ‘neuter’ lo (NSG) pronominalizes (or copies) non-count nouns: el paquete olvidélu ‘the.MSG package.MSG, I.forgot=it.MSG’; a María no la conoces ‘PA María, not her.FSG= know.2SG (= you don’t know María)’; la leche comprólo ‘the.FSG milk.FSG bought.PRT.3SG=it.NSG’. Similarly, in Asturian postnominal (attributive and predicate) adjectives show three endings: masculine count -u (llibru malu ‘bad.MSG book.MSG’), feminine count -a (neña mala ‘bad.FSG girl.FSG’), and non-count -o (carbón duro ‘coal.MSG hard.NSG (= hard coal)’, ropa vieyo ‘clothes.FSG old.NSG (= old clothes)’; el fumu yera blanco ‘the.MSG smoke.MSG was white.NSG’). Some masculine nouns also show this distinction: fierru ‘clothes iron’ vs fierro ‘iron (metal)’; pelu/pilu ‘[one] hair’ vs pelo ‘head of hair’ (cf. §22.2.1).

In rural/popular Spanish of most of Cantabria and much of Old Castile, count/non-count distinctions are also marked (Fernández-Ordóñez 2001; 2006; 2006/7; 2009). However, here le (homophone of dative le) is the masculine singular count clitic (see Tuten 2003:173-203 for its origin), while lo is retained as the non-count ‘neuter’ singular: el paquete le olvidé ‘the.MSG package.MSG it.NSG= I.forgot (= I forgot the package)’; la leche lo compré ‘the.FSG milk.FSG it.NSG= bought.PRT.1SG (= I bought the milk)’. Postnominal adjectives also show marking, but this is only evident after feminine nouns: la buena leche fresco se toma templado ‘the.FSG good.FSG milk.FSG fresh.NSG self= takes.3SG lukewarm.NSG (= one drinks good fresh milk warm)’. In Castile, the long existence of leísmo, or syncretism between accusative and dative clitic le, has favoured analogies that have tended to erase clitic case distinctions in some local varieties. The most common of the analogical extensions is laísmo, or the use of la not only as accusative but also as dative: la dije la verdad ‘to.her= I.told the truth’; cf. standard Sp. le dije la verdad. Other extensions lead to loss of case distinctions in the plural (las and either los or les become both dative and accusative), and in some advanced systems (e.g. near Valladolid) lo comes to be used as a non-count dative clitic: lo dio un golpe ‘to.it= gave.PRT.3SG a blow (= he gave it a hit)’. In this most advanced system, all case distinctions are lost (i.e. le/les is used for masculine count reference, la/las for feminine count reference, and lo for non-count reference). Most forms of leísmo, laísmo, and loísmo (use of lo/s as datives) are socially stigmatized, but use of leísmo to refer to masculine persons (which are always count nouns) is accepted in standard Spanish, where an opposition is possible between le vi ‘I saw him’ and lo vi ‘I saw it’. This type of leísmo is also found locally in some peripheral zones (e.g. near Toledo).

22.3.2 Verbal group

22.3.2.1 Conjugations

Central Ibero-Romance is traditionally characterized—at least in the infinitive—by three conjugation classes with distinct theme vowels: cantar ‘to sing’ (continuing Latin first conjugation), comer ‘to eat’ (continuing Latin second conjugation), and vivir ‘to live’ (continuing Latin fourth conjugation). Latin third conjugation forms have generally been reassigned to the second conjugation (Sp. hacer < FACERE ‘to do’), but some Latin third conjugation verbs have been reassigned to the fourth (Ast., Ara. dicir ‘to say’, Sp. decir < DĪCERE); some variation exists in assignment (cf. Ast. bater, Sp. batir ‘to beat’ < BATTUERE). The first conjugation is numerically the largest and accommodates most new coinings (usually with ‑ear, cf. tuitear ‘to tweet’). However, outside of Aragonese, most inflected forms of modern second and third conjugations use the same mix of -e- and -i- as theme vowels; for instance, there is neutralization of theme vowel distinctions in second and third conjugation gerunds (Sp. cantando vs comiendo, viviendo) and participles (Sp. cantado vs comido, vivido). Distinctions between the second and third are marked only in the infinitive (beber ‘to drink’ vs vivir ‘to live’), the future and conditional (beberé/viviré ‘I will drink/live’, bebería/viviría ‘I would drink/live’), and a handful of other inflected forms: bebemos/vivimos ‘drink/live.PRS.IND.1PL’ (cf. JuSp. [beˈvimos]/[biˈvimos]); bebéis/vivís ‘drink/live.PRS.IND.2PL’ (cf. JuSp. [beˈveʃ]/[biˈviʃ]); bebed/vivid ‘drink/live.IMP.2PL’). Indeed, some Latin American varieties do not employ any voseo forms (2SG < 2PL), thereby exaggerating this tendency. Nevertheless, as Penny (2002:190) point outs, the association of high vowels with the third (‑ir) conjugation helps to preserve the distinction (see §22.3.2.3). Aragonese is much more conservative, in that contrasting forms exist for gerunds (trobando ‘finding’, metendo ‘inserting’, partindo ‘parting’), the imperfect indicative (trobaba ‘I was finding’, meteba ‘I was putting’, culliba ‘I was taking’), and the imperfect subjunctive.

(p.399) 22.3.2.2 Inflection

Table 22.3 Finite synthetic forms of standard Spanish (Sp. cantar ‘to sing’)

Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish

Central Ibero-Romance finite verbs mark person, number, tense, mood, and aspect. Prototypically, synthetic verb forms show the following order of morphemes: lexical stem + theme vowel + tense/aspect marker + person marker (e.g. imperfect cant+á+ba+mos ‘were.singing.IPFV.IND.1PL’). Most forms fuse TAM, person, and number markers, however, so neat segmentation is not usually possible, as is evident in the of Sp. cantó ‘sing.PRT.3SG’). Table 22.3 shows synthetic forms of a regular first conjugation Spanish verb.

Many of the patterns displayed in Table 22.3 are true for all varieties of central Ibero-Romance. For instance, certain forms appear repeatedly with the same function: -s (2SG; though not in standard Sp. cantaste), -ais/eis/is (2PL), -mos (1PL), -n (3PL). Syncretism of person–number marking is found in only a few forms, such as imperfect cantaba (though Belsetán Aragonese can use -e to distinguish the first person singular imperfect). Alternation between present indicative and present subjunctive is marked by alternation in the theme vowel: canta/cante, and the reverse for verbs of the second conjugation (come ‘eat.PRS.IND.3SG’/coma ‘eat.PRS.SBJV.3SG’) and the third (vive ‘live.PRS.IND.3SG’/viva ‘live.PRS.SBJV.3SG’).

Not shown in the chart are imperatives, whose affirmative forms necessarily include the theme vowel: ¡canta! ‘sing.IMP.2SG’ and ¡cantad! ‘sing.IMP.2PL’. Negative imperatives and other persons use forms of the subjunctive: ¡no hables! ‘not speak.PRS.SBJV.2SG’; ¡hablemos! ‘speak.PRS.SBJV.1PL’, ¡hable! ‘you.speak.PRS.SBJV.3SG’. The now rarely used future subjunctive cantare (3SG), continuing the Latin perfect subjunctive and future perfect, is also excluded from the chart (see §§22.4.2.1, 27.5.2). There are also several analytic perfect paradigms: present perfect indicative (Sp. he cantado ‘I.have sung’) and subjunctive (haya cantado), pluperfect indicative (había cantado ‘I.had sung’) and subjunctive (hubiera/hubiese cantado), and the conditional perfect (habría cantado ‘I.would.have sung’); there are varied forms of haber in other varieties, and in some varieties use of other auxiliaries (see §22.4.2.1).

There are numerous differences between Spanish synthetic paradigms and those found in other varieties of central Ibero-Romance. First, cantara forms are not used in Aragonese, and in Asturian they, along with cantare forms, function as both an imperfect subjunctive and a pluperfect indicative (see below). In Spanish it cannot be claimed that cantara and cantase are always equally acceptable in the imperfect subjunctive: cantase forms are associated with formal/written language, and in Latin America cantara forms dominate entirely. In first conjugation verbs Judaeo-Spanish uses a monophthong and /ʃ/ in second person plural endings ([avˈlavaʃ] ʻyou.2PL were speaking’), conserves /d/ in second person plural future ([avˈlaɾaðeʃ] ʻyou.2PL will speakʼ), shows final /í/ in some preterite forms of -ar verbs ([avˈli] / [avˈlimos] ʻspoke.PRT.1SG/1PLʼ) and metathesis of /s/ in second person singular preterite endings ([avˈlates] ʻyou.2SG spokeʼ (found also in some colloquial varieties of Spanish: hablates), and has ‑/ˈava/ and -/ˈija/ in imperfects. Asturian shows /e/ or alternation /a/~/e/ in many forms, sometimes with resultant syncretism (fales ʻspeak.PRS.IND.2SG’ and ‘speak.PRS.SBJV.2SG’). Aragonese also shows a number of noteworthy differences: -atz/-etz/-itz to mark second person plural (cantatz ʻsing.PRS.IND.2SG’); -nos to mark first person plural in some paradigms (fablábanos ‘were.speaking.IPFV.IND.1PL’); highly variable preterite endings showing the effects of competing analogies: (1SG), -és (2SG), -ó/-é (3SG), -émos (1PL), -étz (2PL), ‑ón/‑oron (3PL); second and third conjugation preterites with diphthong -ie- (metié ‘I.put.in’; cf. Sp. metí); and conditionals in -ba (p.400) (trobarba ‘I.would.find’). Many varieties of Latin American Spanish (e.g. Argentina, Central America) maintain use of second plural desinences with informal vos ‘you.2SG’ (which competes with or replaces ); however these forms are often monophthongized (cf. peninsular cantáis/coméis ‘sing/eat.PRS.IND.2PL’, and American cantás/comés ‘sing/eat.PRS.IND.2SG’).

22.3.2.3 Verb roots

Table 22.4 Spanish N-pattern: perder ‘to lose’

Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish

While regular verbs such as cantar ‘to sing’ present a single root throughout the paradigm, hundreds of verbs show two or more. Much root allomorphy in the present tense follows the morphomic distribution known as the ‘N-pattern’ (Maiden 2011b:241), as illustrated in Table 22.4.

Historically, this manifestation of the N-pattern derives from diphthongization of Romance tonic /ɛ/ and /ɔ/ in open and closed syllables. This produced two primary atonic/tonic alternations: -e-/-ie- (as seen in Table 22.4) as well as -o-/-ue- (Sp. negar ‘to deny’: niego ‘I.deny’, mover ‘to move’: muevo ‘I.move’); note the exceptional alternation of -u-/-ue- in Sp. jugar ‘to play’ – juego ‘I.play’. This pattern was subsequently extended to other verbs which had not inherited the alternation: Sp. pensar ‘to think’ (< PĒNSĀRE) – pienso ‘I.think’; Ast. correr ‘to run’ (< CURRERE) – cuerro ‘I.run’ cf. Sp. corro). In some cases, diphthongs have been eliminated through analogical levelling (cf. Sp. entrego ‘I.hand.over’ (OSp. entriego), Ara. chugo ‘I.play’), while in other cases they have been extended throughout the paradigm (rural Ast.-Leo./Sp. juegar ‘to play’).

Table 22.5 Spanish medir ‘to measure’

Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish

A third alternation (partly the result of metaphony; see §§38.4, 43.2.4) appears in the present tense of verbs in -ir (< Latin fourth conjugation); in these cases, atonic -e- alternates with tonic -i-, following the N-pattern for the present indicative (see Table 22.5), as do other ‑ir verbs which show -e-/-ie- and -o-/-ue- alternations (sentir ‘to feel’ – siento ‘I.feel.IND’, dormir ‘to sleep’ – duermo ‘I sleep.IND’). However, verbs with the -e-/-i- alternation extend the high vowel throughout the present subjunctive (see Table 22.5).

Moreover, in all -ir verbs, high vowels appear in other parts of the paradigm beyond those of the N-pattern. Thus, a high vowel is also found in first and second person plural forms of the present subjuntive in verbs such as sentir ‘to feel’ and dormir ‘to sleep’ (sintamos/sentimos/siento ‘feel.PRS.SBJV.1PL/PRS.IND.1PL/PRS.IND.1SG’; durmáis/dormís/duermo ‘sleep.PRS.SBJV.2PL/PRS.IND.2PL/PRS.IND.1SG’), third person forms of the preterite (see Table 22.5; cf. durmió/durmieron ‘slept.PRT.3SG/3PL’), other PYTA forms (midiera ‘measure.IPFV.SBJV.3SG’, durmiese ‘sleep.IPFV.SBJV.3SG’), and the gerund (midiendo ‘measuring’, durmiendo ‘sleeping’). So strong is the association of high vowels with the inherited Latin fourth conjugation (see Penny 2002:185–90) that some verbs show extension of the high vowel throughout most or all of the paradigm (e.g. Sp. cubrir ‘to cover’, Ast. midir ‘to measure’, JuSp. durmir ‘to sleep’), though fluctuation between roots with mid vowels, high vowels, and diphthongs is frequent in non-standardized varieties (JuSp. sintir~sentir ‘to feel’, [ˈsintaʃ]~[ˈsjentaʃ] ‘feel.PRS.SBJV.2SG’ ).

Table 22.6 Spanish L-pattern: decir ‘to say’

Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish

The other major morphomic distribution that characterizes central Ibero-Romance is the ‘L-pattern’ (see Maiden 2011b:223-5 for historical sources of this pattern, and §43.2.3). Most verbs in this class show a velar-final (/k/ or /ɡ/) root allomorph limited to the first person singular of the present indicative and all forms of the present subjunctive, as in decir ‘to say’ (see Table 22.6).

In some varieties of Aragonese (e.g. Belsetán), the velar does not appear in all forms of the subjunctive of this and other verbs (diziamos/diziaz ‘say.PRS.SBJV.1PL/2PL’; Lozano Sierra and Saludas Bernad 2005:112). The Spanish verb crecer ‘to grow’ is typical of the L-pattern with root-final /k/ (crezco/crezca/creces ‘grow.PRS.IND.1SG/PRS.SBJV.1SG/PRS.IND.2SG’). While in both decir and crecer the pattern is etymological, root-final /ɡ/ has been extended by analogy to a number of other verbs (e.g. venir ‘to come’: vengo/venga/vienes ‘come.PRS.IND.1SG/PRS.SBJV.1SG/PRS.IND.2SG’). In this and other cases, the extension of the velar has reinforced a pre-existing etymological L-pattern. Thus, conservative Asturian (like old Spanish) preserves an L-pattern for tra(y)er ‘to bring’ which distinguishes trayo/traya/tra(y)es ‘bring.PRS.IND.1SG/PRS.SBJV.1SG/PRS.IND.2SG’, but insertion of the velar (now found in all other varieties of central Ibero-Romance) (p.401) helps mark the distinction (cf. Sp. traer ‘to bring’: traigo/traiga/traes ‘bring.PRS.IND.1SG/PRS.SBJV.1SG/PRS.IND.2SG’).

The preservation of Latin perfective forms is the source of yet more root allomorphy. Such ‘PYTA’ roots (as labelled by Maiden 2011a:180) are retained in a number of forms which have varied functions (see below). In Spanish, they are the preterite (decir ‘to say’: dije/dijiste/dijo/dijimos/dijisteis/dijeron ‘said.1SG/2SG/2SG/1PL/2PL/3PL’) and both forms of the imperfect subjunctive (dijese/dijera ‘say.IPFV.SBJV.1SG’). In a few cases they survive in participles (puesto ‘placed’, escrito ‘written’, Ara. quiesto ‘wanted’); strong forms may be retained as adjectives, beside innovative weak participles (Sp. adjective preso ‘captured’ vs participle prendido ‘fastened’). Strong preterites stress the penultimate syllable in the first person and third person singular (Sp. tuve/tuvo ‘had.PRT.1SG/3SG’ vs comí/comió ‘ate.PRT.1SG/3SG’). They are also characterized by high vowels /i/ or /u/ in the stem in every verb except traer ‘to bring’: poner ‘to put’: puse ‘put.PRT.1SG’; venir ‘to come’: vine ‘came.PRT.1SG’; note that traje ‘I.brought’ coexists with truje in rural Spanish and other varieties (JuSp. [ˈtɾuʃe]). PYTA roots may be characterized by final consonantal alternations (traducir ‘to translate’ -traduje ‘translated.PRT.1SG’) or by combinations of vowel and consonant changes (estar ‘to be’: estuve ‘was.PRT.1SG’). In Aragonese these roots have suffered levelling in most verbs, and in other varieties many forms which once retained PYTA roots have been regularized: OSp. escrise vs Sp. escribí ‘wrote.PRT.1SG’; OSp. mise vs Sp. metí ‘put.in.PRT.1SG’ (see also §43.2.2).

A minor pattern exists in some futures and conditionals; where these forms show the effects of syncope and epenthesis or metathesis (or deletion of an entire syllable), the same root is used for both the future and conditional: Sp./Ast saldrá/saldría ‘leave.FUT.3SG/COND.3SG’, diré/diría ‘say.FUT.1SG/COND.1SG’; JuSp. [ponˈdɾe]~[poɾˈne]/[ponˈdɾija]~[poɾˈnija] ‘put.FUT.1SG/COND.1SG’; but note Ara. caldrá/caldría~ calerba ‘be.necessary.FUT.3SG/COND.3SG’.

Central Ibero-Romance varieties show other cases of unusual allomorphy and suppletion in a few high-frequency verbs. While Judaeo-Spanish and Asturian (variably) retain the conservative forms so ‘I am’, do ‘I give’, vo ‘I go’, estó ‘I am’, these all add a glide in Spanish and Aragonese (soy, doy, voy, estoy), as does the form hay ‘there is/are’. Hay is probably a fused form of medieval ha ‘it has’ + y ‘there’ (< IBI), but the source of the final glide in the first person forms is debated. The verbs ser ‘to be’ and ir ‘to go’ show numerous suppletive forms: Sp. soy ‘I.am.PRS.IND’, era ‘I.was.IPFV.IND’, fui ‘I.was.PRT’; voy ‘I.go.PRS.IND’, iba ‘I.was.going.IPFV.IND’, fui ‘I.went.PRT’. These two verbs show full syncretism in all forms of the preterite (Sp. fui ‘I.was; I.went’) and imperfect subjunctive (Sp. fuera/fuese). The present tense forms of ser also differ across varieties: Spanish has soy/eres/es/somos/sois/son ‘be.1SG/2SG/3SG/1PL/2PL/3PL’ in the present indicative, while Asturian and Aragonese show yes/ye ‘be.2SG/3SG’. Aragonese has sotz/setz ‘be.2PL’, and like Judaeo-Spanish, somos/semos ‘be.1PL’.

22.3.3 Derivational morphology

Derivation, particularly suffixation, is the most important process used in central Ibero-Romance to create new words and/or modify basic meanings of existing words. Many suffixes involve changes of lexical categories. Below we provide examples of some of the most common suffixes shared across varieties as well as some which are more typical of a particular variety. We also provide examples of some derived forms which are constructed differently across varieties:

  • Adjectives: -ero/a (maderero ‘wood-related’ < madera ‘wood’); -dor/a (acusador ‘accusing, reproachful’ < acusar ʻto accuseʼ); -és/esa (holandés ‘Dutch’ < Holanda ‘Holland’); -al (nacional ‘national’ < nación ‘nation’); -ano/a (italiano ‘Italian’ < Italia ‘Italy’); -ble (envidiable ‘enviable’ < envidiar ‘to envy’); -ico/a (numérico ‘numeric’ < número ‘number’); -ivo/a (permisivo ‘permissive’ < permiso ‘permission’); -oso/a (nervioso ‘nervous’ < nervio ‘nerve’; cf. JuSp. -[ˈozo,a] saludozo ‘healthy’ and Sp. saludable ‘healthy’ < salud ʻhealthʼ). JuSp. also employs borrowed suffixes such as ‑[li]/-[ja] (< Turkish): [aftaxaˈli]~[avtaxaˈli] ʻoptimistʼ < Heb. havtaħa ‘assurance’.

  • Verbs: -ar/-ear (envidiar ‘to envy’ < envidia ‘envy’; blanquear ‘to whiten’, cf. Ast. blanquiar < blanco ‘white’), -ificar (clarificar ‘to clarify’ < claro ‘clear’); -izar (modernizar ‘to modernize’ < moderno ‘modern’); Ast. -exar (escornexar ‘to.butt, gore (with horns)’); JuSp. -[iˈgwaɾ] ([aboniˈgwaɾ] ‘to make good, improve’ < bueno ‘good’).

  • Nouns: -miento (nacimiento ‘birth’ < nacer ‘to be born’); -aje (frenaje ‘braking’ < freno ‘brake’; JuSp. [esklaˈvaʒe] ‘slavery’ < esclavo ‘slave’, cf. Sp. esclavitud); -ado (visionado ‘viewing’ < visión ‘vision’); -ismo (feudalismo ‘feudalism’< feudal ‘feudal’); -ista (purista ‘purist’ < puro ‘pure’); -dad (actividad ‘activity’ < activo ‘active’ ); Ast. -áu/‑ada (fardeláu/fardelada ‘small bagful’ < fardel ‘small bag’); Ara. ‑adizo (for products of actions: serradizo ‘wood shaving’ < serrado ‘sawn.PTCP’); JuSp. ‑[ˈʤi]/‑[ˈʤija] < Turkish ([mentiɾaˈʤi] ‘liar’ < mentira ‘lie’); JuSp. ‑[ˈiʒo] ([toˈsiʒo] ‘coughing’ < tos ‘cough’).

Most central Ibero-Romance sentence and manner adverbs are formed by adding -mente (Ara. -ment) to the feminine form of adjectives: Sp./Ara. serio ‘serious’ > seriamente ‘seriously’, Ara. seriament. The origin of this suffix in Latin ablative singular (feminine) MENTE ‘(with a) mind’ is (p.402) recalled not only by the feminine form of the adjective base but also by (1) frequent retention of stress on both the adjective and suffix ([ˈlentaˈmente]) and (2) optional use of only one suffix in coordinated series of adverbs: lenta y claramente ‘slowly and clearly’. Some adjectives are used as adverbs: corrió rápido ‘s/he ran fast’. Central Ibero-Romance varieties also have lexical adverbs (bien ‘well’, mal ‘badly’, siempre ‘always’): Ast./Ara./JuSp. agora vs Sp. ahora ‘now’; Ast. asina, Ara. asinas, JuSp. ansí~ansina , Sp. así ‘thus’; Ast. anguañu, JuSp. [oˈganjo] vs Sp. este año ‘this year’ (cf. OSp. hogaño). In some cases, -mente is added to existing adverbs: cf. Sp. casi, Ast. cuasimente, Caribbean Sp. casimente ‘almost’ (see Pato 2010).

Central Ibero-Romance is well known for its rich inventory and frequent use of evaluative affixes, including diminutive, augmentative, and pejorative suffixes. These do not change the category of the corresponding word, but lend particular nuances to their meaning in context (smallness, affection, pejoration, intensification, euphemism, emphasis, approximation, and irony; see Reynoso Noverón 2002; Prieto 2005; Fortin 2011). Diminutive suffixes are normally added to nouns, but can be used with adjectives or even adverbs in some varieties (LAmSp. ahorita ‘right now’ < ahora ‘now’, Ast. cerquina ‘quite near’ < cerca ‘near’), gerunds (callandito ‘hushing a little’ < callando ‘hushing’), pronouns and quantifiers (nadita ‘nothing at all’ < nada ‘nothing’). Forms vary greatly. Asturian prefers -ín/ina (which as -ino/a is common in western Spain and in Judaeo-Spanish) and -ucu/a (also preferred in Cantabria): Ast. llibrín ‘small book’ < llibru ‘book’, azulín ‘bluish’ < azul ‘blue’, homucu ‘small man’ < home ‘man’. Aragonese uses -ín/ina for some diminutives (usually indicating smallness), but in other cases prefers -et/eta (pobret ‘poor little thing’ < pobre ‘poor’). Spanish uses many diminutive suffixes, but -ito/a is by far the most frequent today (vaquita ‘small cow’ < vaca ‘cow’); it can appear as -(e)cito in some words, particularly if they end in /e/ or certain consonants: suavecito ‘very soft’ < suave ‘soft’, lucecita ‘small light’ < luz ‘light’). Judaeo-Spanish allows use of -ito in some words ending in a velar consonant ([vaˈkita] ʻsmall cowʼ), but uses primarily ‑[ˈiko,a]: [livˈɾiko] ‘small book’, [esteˈɾika] ‘dear Esther’; [z] is inserted following some words which end in a glide or vowel other than /a/: [ombɾeˈziko] ‘small/young man’ < [ˈombɾe] ‘man’. The suffix -ico/a is also widespread in Spanish, and it is preferred in eastern Spain (including lowland Aragon) and Costa Rica. Elsewhere in Latin America it can be used following word roots ending in /t/ to avoid repetition (gatito~gatico ‘small cat’ < gato ‘cat’), including other diminutives in -ito (chiquitito~chiquitico ‘very very small’ < chico ‘small’). The suffix -illo/a (Ast. -iellu/a, Ara. -iello/a) also survives in use, especially in Andalusia (chiquillo ‘small boy’). Some diminutives have also been lexicalized (Sp. bolso ‘bag’ vs bolsillo ‘pocket’).

Augmentatives, normally added to nouns, show great variation as well. A common augmentative suffix is -ón: Ast. gatón ‘large cat’ < gato ʻcatʼ; Ara. crabón ‘large goat.M’ < craba ‘goat.F’, Sp. notición ‘bombshell.M’ < noticia ‘news.item.F’ (although in Aragonese and Judaeo-Spanish, and in a few Spanish words, it can function as a diminutive). Spanish and other central Ibero-Romance varieties also make frequent use of -ote/a and -azo/a and variant forms (grandote ‘huge, hulking’ < grande ‘big’, exitazo ‘huge success’ < éxito ‘success’; note that ‑azo is also used to mean a blow of some kind: Sp. codazo, Ast. coldazu ‘blow with the elbow’). Some diminutives (-ucho/a, -(z)uelo/a) and augmentatives (-ote) are often used as pejoratives: cuartucho ‘poky little room’ < cuarto ‘room’, mujeruela ‘tart’ < mujer ‘woman’, machote ‘tough guy’ < macho ‘male’. Other suffixes serve primarily as pejoratives: -aco/a (pajarraco ‘big ugly bird’ < pájaro ‘bird’), -acho/a (ricacho ‘filthy rich person’ < rico ‘rich’), ajo/a (migaja ‘miserable crumb’ < miga ‘crumb’), -ato/a (niñato ‘spoiled brat’ < niño ‘child’), ‑ejo (tipejo ‘oddball’ < tipo ‘type’), -orro/a (tintorro ‘cheap red wine’ < tinto ‘red (wine)’), ‑uzo/a (gentuza ‘rabble’ < gente ‘people’); Ast. -ayu/-uyu (tristayu ‘sad thing’). Note that Judaeo-Spanish uses -ucho/acho, along with -[aʧi], as non-pejorative diminutives (Avram > [avɾaˈmuʧo]~[avɾaˈmaʧi] ‘dear/little Avram’).

Central Ibero-Romance prefixes cannot change the lexical categories of the words they attach to (nouns, verbs, adjectives or adverbs, according to the prefix), but they are an important means of modifying word meaning. Indeed, this is increasingly so (at least in Spanish), as indicated by new superlatives super- ‘super-’, hiper- ‘hyper-’, and mega- ‘mega-’ (superenfadado ‘super-angry’), diminutive mini- (minicomputadora ‘minicomputer’), and other prefixes whose use is on the rise: auto- (autoestima ‘self-esteem’), bio- (biodiversidad ‘biodiversity’), eco- (ecoturismo ‘ecotourism’). Some long-established prefixes are characteristic of only one or a few varieties, including Ast. per- (perguapu ʻvery attractive’) and LAmSp. requete- (requetebién ʻvery well’), but many are shared by all. These include such common forms as des- for negation (Ast. despesllar ‘to unlock’, Ara. desfer ‘to undo’, Sp. descafeinado ‘decaffeinated’, JuSp. [dezmazaˈlaðo] ‘unlucky, miserable’ < Heb. mazal ‘luck’), and re- for repetition (Ast. refacer, Ara. refer, Sp. rehacer ‘to re-do’). Numerous others exist to indicate quantity (multi-), intensity/size (micro-), negation (in-), temporality (pre-), collaboration (co-), support/opposition (pro-), position (extra-). Parasynthesis also occurs: Sp. enriquecer, Ast. arriquecer ‘to enrich’ < rico ‘rich’; Ara. enmudeixer ‘to go silent’ < mudo ‘dumb, silent’; JuSp. [enfeuˈzjaɾ] ‘to trust’ < [feˈuzja] ‘trust’.

Central Ibero-Romance prefers syntactic means to express superlatives and comparatives, but a few synthetic and derived forms are also employed. Superlatives and (p.403) comparatives are normally formed analytically using más ‘more’ (< MAGIS): e.g. Sp. más alto que yo ‘more tall.MSG than I (= taller than me)’; el más alto de todos ‘the.MSG more tall.MSG of all.MPL (= the tallest of all)‘. However, there exist four synthetic comparative forms: Sp. mejor ‘better’, peor ‘worse’, mayor ‘bigger, greater’, menor ‘smaller’. Even these compete with analytic forms, sometimes as semantic equivalents (Sp. mayor and más grande/viejo ‘bigger, older’), sometimes with semantic differences (Sp. más bueno ‘morally better’). There exists an absolute superlative (elative) suffix ‑ísimo/a (bellísimo ‘very beautiful.MSG’), but intensification is usually expressed by muy ‘very’ (Ast. mui, Ara. muito): muy bello ‘very beautiful’. Recently, as indicated above, use of prefixes (perhaps borrowed from English) has become a common colloquial means to express the absolute superlative: superguay ‘super-cool’. Some Latin American Spanish varieties use the suffix -azo to similar effect: lindazo ‘really pretty’.

22.3.4 Other word-formation processes

Other processes aside from derivation serve to enrich the lexicon of central Ibero-Romance. Compounding has a long history of productive use and the presence of compounds appears to be growing (at least in Spanish), possibly under the influence of English (consider the well-known Spanish borrowing rascacielos ‘scrapes+sky’ < skyscraper), although the structure of the compounds in each language is distinct. Three noteworthy patterns of compounding in Spanish and central Ibero-Romance are (V.PRS.IND.3SG + N.PL = N: lavaplatos ‘wash+plates (= dishwasher)’, Ara. trencauesos ‘break+bones (= vulture)’; N.SG + N.SG = N: Sp. aguanieve ‘water+snow (= sleet)’, fecha límite ‘date+limit (= deadline)’; N-/i/ + A = A (in which the final vowel of the noun changes to -/i/: pelirrojo ‘hair+red (= redheaded)’ (see Varela 1990; Moyna 2011). Parasynthetic compounds, created through compounding and suffixation, also occur: quinceañero ‘fifteen + year + -ero (= 15-year-old)’.

Acronyms based on initial letters only are increasingly frequent in Spanish institutional discourse: ONU [ˈonu] (< Organización de las Naciones Unidas ‘the United Nations Organization’), sida (< Síndrome de Inmunodeficiencia Adquirida ‘AIDS.MSG’). Clipping has led to the creation of many current Spanish two-syllable paroxytones (foto < fotografía ‘photograph’). It has become very frequent in colloquial usage: progre < progresista ‘progressive’, profe < profesor/a ‘teacher’. Slang terms resulting from clipping often challenge normal patterns: la mili ‘military service’ (with unstressed final -/i/), manifa < manifestación ‘protest’ (with clipping of word end and addition of feminine -/a/). Some acronyms, frequent in commercial contexts, are based on initial syllables: Banamex < Banco Nacional de México ‘National Bank of Mexico’. Blends, though not plentiful, do occur: cantautor < cantante+autor ‘singer-songwriter’; portuñol < portugués+español ‘mix of Portuguese and Spanish’. Finally, Spanish and central Ibero-Romance do allow direct conversion of some forms; adjectives are often used as adverbs (see above), and are regularly used as nouns, but only when accompanied by articles (el/un rubio ‘the/a blond.guy.MSG’), while infinitives can be used as nouns: el votar es un deber ‘voting is a duty’. In this last example, votar is a transparent nominalization of an infinitive, while deber is used with its acquired meaning of ‘duty’ (however deber can be also be used to nominalize the verb deber ‘to owe’).

22.4 Syntax

22.4.1 Nominal group

Within the central Ibero-Romance noun phrase, articles, demonstratives, wh-determiners, quantifiers, numerals, possessives, and a few adjectives normally precede the noun. Articles and demonstratives show agreement in gender and number, as do most quantifiers and a few wh-determiners: las/estas/algunas/unas/cuántas/dos casas ‘the.FPL/these.FPL/some.FPL/how.many.FPL/two houses.FPL’. Demonstrative adjectives can be postposed; this usage is emphatic and often pejorative: el libro ese ‘the.MSG book.MSG that.MSG (= that book)’. In Spanish and Judaeo-Spanish, preposed possessives are classed as determiners (mi madre ‘my mother’), but in Asturian and Aragonese they are classed as adjectives and can co-occur with determiners: Ast. la mió madre ‘the.FSG mine.SG mother.FSG (= my mother)’; Ara. os míos cans ‘the.MPL mine.MPL dogs.MPL (= my dogs)’. These and similar constructions were used in old Spanish and are retained in literary Judaeo-Spanish and in some areas of Spain and Latin America (e.g. Guatemalan Sp. un mi amigo ‘a.M my.SG friend.MSG (= a friend of mine)’). In modern Spanish, possessive adjectives are postposed: unos perros míos ‘some.MPL dogs.MPL mine.MPL (= some dogs of mine)’.

In all varieties of central Ibero-Romance, third person possessives (Sp. su/suyo) suffer from referential ambiguity (e.g. su casa ‘his, her, your.3SG, their, your.3PL house’). They can be replaced or doubled by a pronominal PP; replacement is particularly frequent in Aragonese (o libro de yo ‘the book of I’), while doubling is common in some varieties of Latin American Spanish (su padre de usted ‘POSS.3 father.MSG of you.3SG (= your father)’).

Quantifiers often appear without other determiners (Sp. mucha gente ‘a lot of people’, Ara. bellas mullers ‘some women’, Ast. delles veces ‘some times’, ninguna ventaja ‘no advantage’). Some can appear following definite (p.404) determiners (los pocos habitantes ‘the few inhabitants’, tus muchos amigos ‘your many friends’); but note todos los otros ‘all the others’. Todos, a floating quantifier, can appear in numerous positions: (todos) ellos (todos) son (todos) estudiantes ‘they are all students’. The plural article forms unos/unas normally function as quantifiers (unos amigos ‘some friends’) but some combinations recall their origins as indefinite articles: unos pocos amigos ‘a few friends’. Quantifiers may also be used pronominally: Sp. todos/muchos desaparecieron ‘all.MPL/many.MPL disappeared.3PL’.

Prepositional phrases and relative clauses always follow the head noun, while adjectives may precede or follow it. In all varieties of central Ibero-Romance, postnominal position is unmarked for most restrictive or contrastive attributive adjectives: la camisa blanca o la camisa negra ‘the.FSG shirt.FSG white.FSG or the.FSG shirt.FSG black.FSG (= the white shirt or the black shirt)’. Only a very few adjectives (e.g. Sp. bueno ‘good’, malo ‘bad’, grande ‘great, big’, ordinals such as primero ‘first’) are normally prenominal (shortened Spanish forms buen.MSG, primer.MSG, and gran.SG appear in this position; see §22.3.1.1): Ast. un bon/güen amigo ‘a.MSG good.MSG friend.MSG (= a good friend)’; Sp. una gran fiesta ‘a.FSG big.FSG party.FSG (= a great party)’. In both positions adjectives agree in gender and number with the head noun (but in Asturian only a postposed adjective of a non-count head noun appears with non-count -o; see §22.3.1.4). Preposed adjectives are frequent in formal/literary Spanish. Generally, these are appositive, recalling known or expected qualities of the noun or expressing the speaker’s subjective evaluation: el valiente guerrero ‘the.MSG brave.SG warrior.MSG’. Some adjectives show semantic differences according to position (though context of use influences meaning): un viejo amigo ‘an.MSG old.MSG friend.MSG (= a long-time friend)’ vs un amigo viejo ‘an.MSG friend.MSG old.MSG (= an old/aged friend)’. There are also syntactic constraints that require postnominal position of the adjective (e.g. participles and adjectives with complements must follow the noun: una mujer leal a sus principios ‘a woman loyal to her principles’).

Within the nominal phrase, adverbs precede the adjectives they modify: un coche muy/extremadamente rápido ‘a.MSG car.MSG very/extremely fast.MSG (= a very/extremely fast car)’. Within central Ibero-Romance, only Aragonese uses a partitive article to mark indefinite mass and plural nouns: ¿ya no ne b’ha de lupos? ‘already not thereof=there=have.3SG PART wolves (= are there no longer any wolves?)’; sin de medrana = ‘without PART fear’. Like Aragonese, Asturian retains (though variably) a partitive following quantifiers: Ara. muitas de mullers ‘many women’; Ast. muncho (de) pan ‘much bread’; dello (de) lleche ‘some milk’.

Use of bare nouns, apart from proper names (which in colloquial speech often appear with articles), is tightly constrained. In Spanish, mass and indefinite plural count noun complements may appear with bare nouns: el vino contiene alcohol/vitaminas ‘the.MSG wine.MSG contains.3SG alcohol.MSG/vitamins.FPL (= wine contains alcohol/vitamins)’; sin alcohol ‘without alcohol’. A subject NP of an unaccusative verb may appear with a bare noun: pasan animales ‘pass.PRS.3PL animals.MPL (= animals pass by)’. A subject NP of a transitive/unergative verb requires an article: los animales comen la hierba ‘the.MPL animals.MPL eat.3PL the.FSG grass.FSG (= animals eat (the) grass)’; however, locative inversion overrides this constraint: en esta escuela estudian niños ‘in this school study children’. Bare nouns also appear in certain fixed expressions: en casa ‘at home’.

22.4.1.1 Pronominals

Central Ibero-Romance varieties are null subject languages; overt subject pronouns are normally employed only to mark contrastive focus or switch reference (ella fuma pero yo no ‘she smokes but I don’t’). However, Caribbean Spanish makes more regular use of overt pronouns (particularly informal ‘you.2SG’) than do other varieties, interpreted by some as a result of the frequent neutralization between second and third person singular verb forms following loss of final -s in the former (cf. fumas/fuma ‘smoke.2SG/3SG’ > fuma). Null subjects are required with non-referring subjects (es obvio ‘it.is obvious’), including those of existential and atmospheric verbs (hay muchos coches ‘has many cars (= there are a lot of cars)’; llueve ‘it.rains’). Null objects are normally ungrammatical, but a null object may be grammatical if it is interpreted as indefinite. In reply to ¿Compraste leche? ‘bought.PRT.2SG milk (= did you buy milk?)’, one may answer Sí, compré ‘yes bought.PRT.1SG (= Yes, I bought (some)’; but note that in Aragonese, the reply requires a partitive clitic: Sí, en crompé.

Clitics are always immediately adjacent to the verb. In Spanish, Judaeo-Spanish, and Aragonese, clitics are normally proclitic (María me vio ‘María saw me’). In these varieties, they are enclitic only with positive affirmatives (dámelo give.2SG.IMP=to.me=it ‘give it to me’), gerunds (diciéndolo ‘saying=it’), and infinitives (verlo ‘to.see=it), though in Judaeo-Spanish a clitic may also precede an infinitive: gusto da de lo ver ‘pleasure it.gives of him= to.see (= it’s a pleasure to see him)’. Asturian retains a system in which clitics are normally enclitic (María viome ‘María saw=me’) and are excluded entirely from sentence-initial position. In some contexts, either proclisis or enclisis is possible, in others only proclisis, as with certain types of subordinate clause and with finite (non-restructuring) matrix verbs preceded by a negative (Ast. María nun me vio ‘María not me= saw (= María didn’t see me)’); an interrogative pronoun (Ast. ¿Ónde vos llevaron? ‘where you.2PL= take.PRT.3PL (= where did (p.405) they take you?)’), certain indefinite pronouns, and with fronted foci (see below).

In Asturian, Spanish, and Judaeo-Spanish, clitics are normally sequenced according to the following simplified template: [se] – [2P] – [1P] – [3P.IO] – [3P.DO] (in no instance are all positions filled). Sequences of non-reflexive third person clitics show dative–accusative order, non-third person clitics precede other persons, second person precede first person clitics, se precedes other clitics, and phonetically identical clitics are excluded (Zagona 2002:16). Examples include: me los diste ‘to.me= them.MPL= gave.PRT.2SG (= you gave them to me)’; dándomelo ‘giving=to me=it (= giving it to me)’; and with an ethic dative: se te la comió un perro ‘REFL.3= to.you.2SG= it.FSG= ate a dog (= a dog ate it up, affecting you)’. Aragonese differs chiefly by ordering third person accusatives before first person and second person datives (los me diés ‘them.MPL= to.me= gave.PRT.2SG (= you gave them to me’)) and reflexives (including se in some combinations), datives before adverbial clitic en/ne, and by allowing variation in the order of en/ne and adverbial clitic bi/i (see §22.3.1.3).

Clitic climbing occurs regularly with modals (e.g. poder ‘can, to be able to’, deber ‘must, should’), restructuring verb+infinitive predicates (e.g. ir a ‘to be going to’, volver a ‘to do again’, acabar de ‘to finish doing’, tener que ‘to have to’) and verb+gerund sequences (e.g. estar ‘to be’, seguir ‘to keep on’, andar ‘to go around’). Thus, María debe decírnoslo ‘María must say.INF=to.us=it (= María must say it to us)’ alternates with María nos lo debe decir; similarly, Juan sigue buscándolo ‘Juan continues searching.for=it’ alternates with Juan lo sigue buscando. In phrases with multiple modals or restructuring verbs, intermediate positions are possible: no podemos volver a dártelo ‘not can.2PL return.INF to give.INF=to.you.2SG=it (= we cannot give it to you again)’ alternates with no podemos volvértelo a dar and no te lo podemos volver a dar. Split cliticization is not normally possible in these constructions (**María nos debe decirlo; though some Judaeo-Spanish speakers find this and similar examples acceptable). However, in causative constructions with hacer ‘to make’ + infinitive, climbing is only required for the clitic which corresponds to the logical subject of the embedded clause, while climbing is optional or in some cases disallowed (see Ordóñez 2013:446) for the clitic which corresponds to a complement of the embedded verb. Thus, él me hizo hacerlo ‘he to.me= made do.INF=it (= he made me do it)’ alternates with él me lo hizo hacer, while in the case of me hizo educarla ‘to.me= made educate.INF=her (= s/he made me educate her)’, raising of la is prohibited because the referent is animate (cf. me lo hizo leer ‘to.me= it= made read.INF (= s/he made me read it)’.

Clitic doubling is a characteristic feature of central Ibero-Romance. Pronominal and non-pronominal indirect object full phrases regularly co-occur with a dative clitic: le dije la verdad a ella/Susana ‘to.her= told.PRT.1SG the truth to her/Susan (= I told the truth to her/Susan)’. Only in formal registers do indirect object full phrases appear without the clitic double. Pronominal and anaphoric (reflexive or reciprocal) direct object full phrases regularly co-occur with a clitic double: lo veo a él (pero no a ella) ‘him= I.see PA him (but not PA her) (= I saw him (but not her)’; Juan se vio a sí mismo ‘Juan SELF= saw.PRT.3SG PA SELF same (= Juan saw himself)’; Juan y Pedro se vieron el uno al otro ‘Juan and Pedro SELF= saw.PRT.3PL the.MSG one.MSG PA.the.MSG other.MSG (= Juan and Pedro saw each other)’. In these examples, the same sentences without the clitic are ungrammatical (e.g. **vi a él). Constructions such as lo veo a él are generally limited to marking contrastive or emphatic focus, or specifying referents of the clitic. In Judeo-Spanish and in some Latin American varieties of Spanish (notably in Argentina), direct object clitics may also co-occur with personal and inanimate definite referents (as in colloquial Italian): lo vi a Juan ‘him= saw.PRT.1SG PA Juan (= I saw Juan)’; yo no las traje las llaves ‘I not them.FPL= brought.PRT.1SG the.FPL keys.FPL (= I didn’t bring the keys)’. see also §22.4.3.4 for doubling in clitic left-dislocation.

22.4.2 Verbal group

22.4.2.1 Tense, aspect, and mood

Table 22.7 Temporal-aspectual distinctions of indicative verbs (1SG of Sp. cantar ‘to sing’)

Spanish, Astur-Leonese, Navarro-Aragonese, Judaeo-Spanish

Collectively, central Ibero-Romance varieties use a range of synthetic and analytic perfect verb forms to encode tense, aspect, and mood oppositions; however, Asturian is notable for its traditional lack of analytic perfects. For other varieties, Table 22.7 outlines an extremely simplified and idealized version of the indicative verb system, which distinguishes between past, present, and future time, as well as between imperfective and perfective aspectual variants (two of which are analytic perfect forms with auxiliary haber ‘to have’ in Spanish).

The present refers to present habitual actions and states, to progressive actions (María trabaja ‘María works/ (p.406) is working’), and to future states and events (vamos mañana ‘we’re going tomorrow’). However, analytic progressives (see below) allow specification of the progressive aspect (in this and all other tenses), and both the synthetic and analytic futures can be used to specify futurity (see below). The neutralization of present and future is a feature of the present subjunctive: no creo que venga ‘not I.believe that come.PRS.SBJV.3SG (= I don’t believe s/he is coming/will come)’.

Prototypically, the present perfect refers to events and states with present relevance: todavía no has terminado el examen ‘yet not have.2SG finished the exam (= you haven’t finished the exam yet)’, hemos hablado antes ‘we.have spoken before’. Note that perfectives, particularly the present perfect, generally disallow placement of adverbs or a subject between auxiliary and participle; thus inversion usually requires movement of both auxiliary and participle: cf. **¿Ha él ido? ‘Has he gone’ and ¿Ha ido él? ‘Has gone he (= has he gone?)’. The preterite prototypically refers to whole events and states completed and/or begun at a specific past moment without effect on the present, including past events or states completed before another: terminé el examen en dos horas ‘I.finished.PRT the exam in two hours’; una vez terminaron de trabajar, tomaron unas copas ‘one time finished.PRT.3PL of work.INF took.PRT.3PL some drinks (= once they finished work, they had some drinks)’. Note that in Judaeo-Spanish perfect tenses can be formed with auxiliary aver or tener ‘have’ (ave/tiene ido ‘s/he.has gone’), while Aragonese forms perfects of some verbs with ser–estar ‘be’ (see below and §22.4.2.2).

In Asturian (which lacks analytic perfects), the preterite continues to be used for past actions/states with and without effect on the present (falé ‘I spoke; I have spoken’). In other varieties, use of the preterite overlaps with that of the present perfect, so that ‘you worked’ and ‘you have worked’ can be expressed by has trabajado or trabajaste. Unsurprisingly, there exists much regional variation in the use of these two tenses. In some varieties of Spanish (e.g. central Spain, Peru, Bolivia), the beginnings of aoristic drift (§58.3.2) can be found in the use of the present perfect to refer to past events completed within the same day, other present-related time periods (‘this month’, ‘this year’), or within any implicit extended present. Speakers of these varieties prefer present perfect forms with anoche ‘last night’ and ayer ‘yesterday’, while speakers of other varieties opt for the preterite: María ha llegado ayer ‘María has arrived yesterday (= María arrived yesterday)’ vs María llegó ayer ‘María arrived.PRT yesterday (= María arrived yesterday)’. Some Spanish varieties (e.g. Argentina) offer evidence of an opposite tendency, with prototypical uses of the perfect being replaced by the preterite: todavía no terminaste el examen ‘yet not finished.PRT.2SG the exam (= you haven’t finished the exam yet)’.

The imperfect refers to past states or events, seen as occurring over an unspecified period of time, as being in progress when some punctual event occurred, or as habitual: estábamos enfermos ‘we.were.IPFV.IND ill’; yo hacía la comida cuando llamaron ‘I was.making.IPFV the meal when they.called.PRT’; nos llamábamos todas las semanas ‘us.REFL= called.IPFV.IND.1PL all the weeks (= we called each other every week)’. It may also refer to future-in-the-past: dijo que no venía ‘said.PRT.3SG that not came.IPFV.IND.3SG (= s/he said that s/he wasn’t coming)’. In colloquial usage, the imperfect can replace the conditional in the apodosis of a conditional sentence and it can replace the conditional perfect with modals and simple present in polite expressions: si no fuera por él, no tenías este trabajo ‘if not were.IPFV.SBJV.3SG for him, not have.IPFV.IND.2SG this job (= if it weren’t for him, you wouldn’t have this job)ʼ; ¡Me lo podías decir! ‘to.me= it= could.IPFV.IND.2SG say.INF (= you could have told me!)’; quería pedirte un favor ‘I.wanted.IPFV ask.INF=you.2SG favour (= I wanted to ask you a favour)’. Note that the imperfect subjunctive neutralizes distinctions between perfective and imperfective: no es posible que él viniese/viniera ‘not it.is possible that he came.IPFV.SBJV.3SG (= it is not possible that he came/was coming/would come)’.

Conventionally, the future makes reference to a future action or event (iré ‘I will go’). However, with competing use of present forms and the periphrastic future (see below), it is most frequently used to communicate volition/obligation or epistemic modality in the present: estará enfermo ‘be.FUT.IND.3SG ill.MSG (= he is probably ill)’. The future perfect refers to a completed state or action in the future; it also marks epistemic modality for the present perfect: la clase habrá terminado a las cinco ‘the class will.have ended at the five (= class will have ended at five o’clock)’.

The conditional expresses future-in-the-past and occurs in the apodosis of speculative/counterfactual conditional sentences: me dijeron que llegarían tarde ‘me= told.PRT.3PL that would.arrive.COND.3PL late (= they told me they would arrive late)’; si tuviera dinero, viajaría a Italia ‘if had.IPFV.SBJV.1SG money, would.travel.COND.1SG to Italy (= if I had money, I would travel to Italy)’. It also marks epistemic modality for the imperfect and politeness: estaría enfermo ‘be.COND.3SG ill.MSG (= he was probably ill)’; ¿Le importaría cerrar la ventana? ‘to.you= matter.COND.3SG close.INF the window (= Would you mind closing the window?)’. The conditional perfect is used to mark epistemic modality in past perfects and also occurs in the apodosis of past counterfactual sentences (with the pluperfect subjunctive in the protasis): habría estado enfermo ‘would.have.COND.3SG been.PTCP ill.MSG (= he must have been ill)’; si lo hubiera sabido, no habría ido ‘if it= had.IPFV.SBJV.1SG known, not would.have.COND.1SG gone.PTCP (= if I had known it, I wouldn’t have gone)’. Note that in colloquial usage conditional sentences show great (p.407) variation of TAM choice in the protasis and apodosis, often favouring parallel use of tenses, as in the not uncommon Spanish use of the pluperfect subjunctive in past counterfactuals: si hubiera tenido tiempo, hubiera ido ‘if I.had.SBJV had time, I would.have.SBJV gone’ (Penny 2002:248-54).

Prototypically, however, the pluperfect refers to events which occurred before another past event: cuando Juan llegó a casa, María ya se había ido ‘when Juan arrived.PRT to home, María already SELF= had.IPFV gone.PTCP (= when Juan came home, María had already left)’. In this context, informal Spanish can substitute the preterite for the pluperfect. The pluperfect has the same value as the so-called ‘past anterior’ form, which in Spanish is now restricted to formal writing and constrained to use after a handful of conjunctions: después de que él hubo llegado, ella se fue ‘after that he had arrived, she self= went (= after he had arrived, she left)’. In Asturian, the pluperfect is expressed with synthetic forms: él yá los visitara/visitare la selmana anterior ‘he already them had.visited the week prior (= he had already visited them the week before’). Pluperfect uses of synthetic forms of the type cantara (which continue its original Latin function) can also be found in subordinate clauses of formal, written Spanish, particularly in Latin American journalistic prose.

A few varieties of Aragonese (e.g. in Hecho) are distinguished by two largely vestigial features of analytic perfect forms. First, the participle of transitive verbs can agree in gender and number with a preceding full or clitic direct object or the subject of a reflexive verb whose auxiliary is haber ‘to have’: a vida que has feita ‘the.FSG life.FSG that have.2SG made.ptcp.FSG (= the life that you have made)’. Second, while unergative verbs select haber ‘have’ as the auxiliary (e.g. ebas plorau ‘you.had.2SG cried’), some unaccusative verbs (including verbs of movement and reflexives of transitive verbs) can select ser ‘be’ (see §22.4.2.2), with obligatory agreement of the participle with the subject: yes plegada ‘are.2SG arrived.PTCP.FSG (= you (F) have arrived)’; s´en yeran idos ‘SELF=thence= were.IPFV.IND.3PL gone.PTCP.MPL (= they (M) had gone away’); se son feitos muito ricos ‘SELF= are.3PL made.PTCP.MPL very rich.MPL (= they (M) have made themselves/have become very rich).’

Use of the subjunctive, which remains vigorous in all varieties, broadly reflects that found in other varieties of Romance. Thus, the subjunctive is employed primarily as a marker of subordination. In relative clauses, the subjunctive is regularly licensed by nonexistent, negated, or non-specific antecedents (No conozco a nadie que sepa eso ‘not I.know PA nobody that knows that (= I don’t know anybody who knows that)’. In complement clauses, it is licensed by semantic factors (e.g. a subclass of matrix verbs, including verbs of desire, emotion, volition, demand, and denial) and, less consistently, by syntactic factors, such as negation of the matrix verb (including those of saying, perception, and thinking/believing, which otherwise license the indicative): cf. quiero que vengas ‘I.want that come.PRS.SBJV.2SG (= I want you to come’); creo que vienes ‘I.believe that come.PRS.IND.2SG (= I believe that you come/are coming)’; no creo que vengas ‘not I.believe that you.come.PRS.SBJV.2SG (= I don’t believe that you’re coming)’. With some matrix verbs (e.g. of emotion) the subjunctive is sufficient to mark subordination and may license the omission of the finite complementizer que ‘that’: temo (que) estén enfadados ‘I.fear (that) they.are.PRS.SBJV angry.MPL’. Despite these semantic and syntactic constraints, meaningful contrasts can be made in some cases between the indicative and subjunctive, such as in temporal adjunct clauses: lo hago cuando llego ‘it= I.do when I.arrive.PRS.IND (= I do it when I arrive)’ vs lo hago cuando llegue ‘it= I.do when I.arrive.PRS.SBJV (= I’ll do it when I arrive)’.

The infinitive acts as a verb complement, as a noun (sometimes with preceding article), as a complement of a preposition: no sabe cantar ‘not know.PRS.3SG sing.INF (= s/he doesn’t know how to sing)’; (el) nadar es bueno para la salud ‘(the.MSG) swim.INF is good.MSG for the health (= swimming is good for health)’; sin pensar ‘without think.INF (= without thinking)’. In adverbial adjuncts, an uninflected personal infinitive with postverbal subject (or overt preverbal subject in Caribbean Spanish) may be substituted for a finite clause with subjunctive or indicative (cf. §63.2.1.1): antes de que llegara yo, empezó la fiesta ‘before of that arrive.IPFV.SBJV.1SG I, began the party (= before I arrived, the party began)’; antes de llegar yo, empezó la fiesta ‘before of arrive.INF I, began the party’ vs Caribbean Sp. antes de yo llegar, empezó la fiesta. The infinitive is regularly used when the subject of a matrix and embedded verb is the same (quiero ir ‘I.want go.INF’), but in more formal registers can also be used with verbs such as decir ‘to say’ and creer ‘to believe’, which otherwise require a finite complement: él cree saberlo todo ‘he believes know.INF=it all’ vs él cree que lo sabe todo ‘he believes that it= he.knows all (= he believes that he knows it all)’.

The gerund acts as a complement of some verbs, and as an adverbial clause, which may refer to the subject or object of the main verb: Juan sigue comiendo ‘Juan keeps.on eating.GER’; María salió corriendo ‘María left running.GER’; María lo vio corriendo ‘María him= saw running.GER (= María saw him running)’. In Asturian (and rural Spanish) the gerund can follow the preposition en: en llavando ‘after washing’ (cf. Sp. al lavar ‘upon washing’).

Numerous periphrastic forms have developed in Spanish and central Ibero-Romance to highlight or specify particular semantic functions which overlap in the core verbal system (see Olbertz 1998; Yllera 1999). The most important of these are the analytic progressive and the periphrastic future. The first of these is composed of a form of estar ‘to be’ (or ser-estar in Aragonese) + gerund. It can be used to specify progressive aspect in any verbal form (particularly in Spanish): Ast. ta (p.408) nevando ‘(it) is snowing’; JuSp. estavamos kaminando ‘we.were.IPFV.IND walking’; Sp. habremos estado/estuvimos viajando ‘we.will.have been/we.were.PRT travelling’; Ara. yeran fablando ‘they.were.IPFV.IND speaking’. The periphrastic future is composed of ir ‘to go’ + a ‘to’ + infinitive (the preposition is optional in Judaeo-Spanish; Asturian dir is followed directly by the infinitive). It is now a primary means of marking future tense and, when used with the imperfect, future in the past: Sp. voy/iba a estudiar español ‘I.am/was.going to study.INF Spanish’; JuSp. vo meldar manyana ‘I.am.going to.read tomorrow’; Ast. vas cayer ‘you.are.going to.fall’. Note however that similar forms in eastern Aragonese have past reference, as in Catalan (cf. §21.4.2): vas trobar ‘go.2SG.PRS to.find (= you found)’.

22.4.2.2 Copulas

There exist two copulas: ser and estar (Ast. tar). In Asturian, Spanish, and Judaeo-Spanish, ser is used for reference to essential or inherent qualities of basic aspects (material, size, personality, etc.), origin, nationality, relationship, profession, possession, time, and dates. Estar refers to non-inherent aspects, such as location and position, transitory condition, results of an action, and state of being of a subject.4 Significant differences in meaning can be signalled by choice of ser or estar, particularly with predicate adjectives: María es alegre ‘María is happy’ vs María está alegre ‘María is tipsy’. Nevertheless, there is variation in usage across varieties; in Mexican and Chicano Spanish, estar appears to be taking over some functions of ser. For instance, estar is increasingly used with adjectives of physical description that traditionally would have required ser: cuando estábamos pequeños ‘when we.were small’ (Silva-Corvalán 1994). This continues a historical tendency within Spanish, which for instance has extended use of estar to mark location of all non-event referents. In Aragonese, these distinctions are not consistently made. For instance, in Belsetán Aragonese (Lozano Sierra and Saludas Bernad 2005:106f.), the forms and functions of ser and estar are distinguished in the preterite, but otherwise the forms of ser and estar have been mixed in a suppletive paradigm (i.e. forms of ser are used for most finite forms, including the present and imperfect, while non-finite forms are estar/estáu/estando ‘to.be/been.MSG/being’). In some varieties, either form can be used for certain functions (Chistabino Ara. serán/estarán aquí una semana ‘the will be here (for) a week’; Mott 1992-3), while for other functions, all forms are limited to one paradigm (Belsetán estar-se ‘to remain’).

22.4.2.3 Adverbs

Verb phrase adverbs can appear in a range of positions in an SVO sentence: before or after the verb, after the object or before the subject; for example, the adverb ya ‘already’ may occupy any of these positions in the following sentence: (ya) los niños (ya) recibieron (ya) los regalos (ya) ‘The children (have) already received the gifts’. However, not all types of adverbs can occupy all of these positions, and specific adverbs are more marked in certain positions than are others. For instance, a wide range of adverb types (including those of manner and quality) may appear immediately following the verb, while only a limited range of adverbs (of time, place, and extent) may also appear immediately before the verb (Zagona 2002:163). Indeed, Ocampo (1995) argues that while for most Spanish adverbs the unmarked position is postverbal, the unmarked position for some adverbs (e.g. Sp. ya ‘already’, siempre ‘always’, todavía ‘yet’, casi ‘almost’) is immediately preverbal: siempre juegan ‘always they.play (= they always play)’. Note that sentence adverbs normally appear before or after subjects: (Probablemente) María (probablemente) leyó el informe ‘(Probably) María (probably) read the report’.

22.4.2.4 Negation

Negation is encoded by no ‘not’ (Ast. nun). This or another negative element must precede the finite verb and any proclitics; emphatic non-negation can be marked by inserting in the same position: no lo escribió ‘not it= wrote.PRT.3SG (= s/he didn’t write it)’ vs sí lo escribió ‘yes it= wrote.PRT.3SG (= s/he did write it)’. Note that if an adverb intervenes between no and the verb, then the scope of the negator is limited to the adverb: no siempre canto ópera ‘not always I.sing opera (= I don’t always sing opera)’. Items such as Sp. nunca ‘never’, nadie ‘nobody’, nada ‘nothing’, ninguno/a ‘none, no one’, tampoco ‘neither’ must appear with preverbal no (negative concord), unless they appear preverbally themselves: no me lo dijo nunca ‘not to.me= it= said never (= s/he never said it to me)’ vs nunca me lo dijo ‘never to.me= it= said’. In Spanish, only one negative item may precede the verb, but in Asturian, Aragonese, and Judaeo-Spanish, this constraint does not apply: Ast. nengún (nun) lo fizo ‘nobody (not) it= did (=nobody did it)’. Aragonese differs from other varieties by allowing two negative markers of a single verb (discontinuous negation): no ye pas claro ‘not is not clear (= it’s not clear)’. The lexicalized combination no pas also negates other constituents: no pas yo ‘not me/I’.

(p.409) 22.4.2.5 Passive and middle voice

To topicalize the patient and demote (or suppress) the agent, standard/formal varieties use the analytic passive construction ser ‘be’ + participle, with subjectivization of the underlying direct object (which may remain in postverbal position) and suppression (or demotion to an oblique phrase) of the underlying subject: los herederos vendieron la casa ‘the heirs sold the house’ → la casa fue vendida (por los herederos) ‘the house was sold (by the heirs)’. The analytic passive may also be formed with copula estar ‘be’ (wherever the ser-estar distinction is marked); this option denotes not a process but rather a resultant state and requires suppression of the Agent: la casa está vendida ‘the house is sold’. In spoken varieties, clitic left-dislocation is often used to topicalize the patient (see §22.4.3.4). Another strategy, found in all registers, is use of the third person reflexive se ‘self’ construction (‘passive se’), with agreement between the usually postverbal subject (= Patient) and suppression of the underlying agent: se vendió la casa ‘self= sold.3SG.PRT the house (= the house was sold)’; aquí se venden casas ‘here self= sell.3PL.PRS houses (= houses are sold here)’. Note that this construction is similar to the middle construction (la puerta se abrió ‘the door opened’), distinguished from the passive construction only by lack of an implicit agent.

Not unrelated to the ‘passive se’ construction is indefinite (or so-called ‘impersonal’) se, in which se functions as a subject clitic. In all varieties, this is commonly used with intransitive verbs (aquí se duerme bien ‘here SCL= sleeps well (= here one sleeps well)’, copulas (se está bien aquí ‘SCL= is well here (= it’s/we’re fine here)’, and transitive verbs which have definite personal complements preceded by the prepositional accusative (se busca a los delincuentes ‘SCL= searches PA the.MPL criminals.MPL (= the criminals are being sought)’. In some Latin American varieties of Spanish (e.g. Peru, Argentina, Judaeo-Spanish), indefinite se also occurs with transitive verbs followed by impersonal and indefinite personal complements: se vende casas ‘SCL= sells.3SG houses (= houses are sold/one sells houses)’; se busca actores ‘SCL= seeks.3SG actors.MPL (= actors are sought/one seeks actors).

22.4.3 Clause

22.4.3.1 Prepositional accusative

Central Ibero-Romance is characterized by a prepositional accusative construction, in which the preposition a ‘to’, normally used to mark indirect objects, is also used to mark direct objects with specific human or human-like referents. This is known as ‘personal a’ (cf. §56.3.2.4); its use is very consistent in Spanish and Judaeo-Spanish, less so in Asturian and Aragonese: vi a Juan ‘I.saw PA Juan’ vs vi la película ‘I.saw the film’; buscaban a un médico ‘they.were.seeking PA a doctor (= they were looking for a (specific) doctor)’ vs buscaban un médico ‘they.were.seeking a doctor (= they were looking for a(ny) doctor)’. However, exceptions to these constraints exist. For instance, the prepositional accusative is often used with inanimate direct objects when there exists the possibility of confusion between the subject and object (i.e. when the subject is also inanimate), and its use is required before direct object negative indefinites: esta tradición caracteriza al sur ‘this tradition characterizes PA.the.MSG south.MSG’; no conocemos a nadie ‘not know.1PL PA nobody.MSG (= we don’t know anyone)’.

22.4.3.2 Relative clauses

Relative clauses are introduced by a variety of relativizers: pronouns (e.g. Sp. que ‘that’, quien/-es ‘who.SG.PL’, article + que, article + cual/-es ‘the.MSG/the.FSG which’ or los/las cuales ‘the.MPL/the.FPL which’, including neuter lo que and lo cual), adverbs (e.g. Sp. donde ‘where’, cuando ‘when’, como ‘like, as’), or, only in formal Spanish, the possessive determiner cuyo/a ‘whose’ (la mujer cuyos hijos ‘the.FSG woman.FSG whose.MPL sons.MPL’). Relative pronouns often appear in the same constructions, but neither que, the most frequent of these, nor the others can be used in all constructions. In Spanish, the form of relativized constituents varies depending on (1) whether the clause is restrictive or non-restrictive, (2) the grammatical function of the relative phrase within the clause, and (3) features (gender, number, definiteness, human/non-human) of the antecedent. For instance, quien is disallowed in the following restrictive clause (with subject antecedent of the relativizer): Sp. la mujer que/**quien vino ayer ‘the woman that/**who came yesterday’; but in a similar non-restrictive clause, either que or quien is acceptable (la mujer, quien/que vino ayer). For restrictive clauses with a direct object antecedent, a number of relativizers are acceptable: la mujer que/a quien/a la que/a la cual conocí ‘the woman that/PA whom/PA the.FSG that/PA the.FSG which I met’; but many speakers reject use of que in a similar non-restrictive clause: las mujeres, a quienes/**que conocí ayer ‘the women, PA whom / **that I met yesterday’. Finally, notice that restrictive relativization of non-human direct objects requires que: el libro que /**el que /**el cual compré ‘the book that I.bought’ (cf. Zagona 2002:56-62).

22.4.3.3 Dequeísmo/queísmo

Finite complements introduced by the complementizer que ‘that’ may appear directly following verbs as postposed subjects (me alegra que hayas venido ‘to.me is.pleasing that you.have.SBJV come’ (= I am pleased that you have come)’, and they also appear as noun phrase complements (pienso que vendrán ‘I.think that they.will.come’), or following a (p.410) preposition with verbs which take PP complements (me alegro de que hayan venido ‘myself= make.happy.1SG of that they.have.SBJV come (= I am happy that they have come)’. In contemporary non-standard Spanish (and other varieties), there is much variation in the use of que with and without preceding de, so that a verb like pensar can appear with an intervening de when followed by finite complements (so-called dequeísmo): pienso de que vendrán ‘I.believe of that they.will.come’. Similarly, verbs that normally have a PP complement can appear without de (so-called queísmo): me alegro que hayan venido.

22.4.3.4 Sentence organization and information structure

Central Ibero-Romance is characterized by SVO basic word order but, like other varieties of southern Romance, shows patterns which correspond to an active/stative syntax (Ledgeway 2011b:447-71). Therefore, S must be understood as an active Agent transitive or intransitive subject (A/SA) and O as the stative undergoer transitive object or intransitive subject (O/SO). In this system, transitive subjects and unergative subjects precede the verb (Juan perdió el libro ‘Juan lost the book’; Juan perdió ‘Juan lost’), while transitive objects and unaccusative subjects follow it (se perdió el libro ‘self= lost the book (= the book was/got lost)’.

Information structure is also key to explaining sentence structure. In all-focus sentences (those which respond, for example, to an implicit ‘What happened?’), unmarked sentence orders are A–V–O, SA–V, and V–SO (as exemplified above); in these cases, the entire sentence is considered the focus (there is no topic). In other contexts, the presupposed information of a topic tends to appear in sentence-initial position (frequently coinciding with A and SA, which are often not overt), while the new, asserted information of the focus appears toward the end of the sentence. Wh-questions can be used to identify the discourse context of focalized constituents: What happened? → [FOC Juan compró el periódico] ‘Juan bought the newspaper’; What did Juan do? → Juan [FOC compró el periódico]; What did Juan buy? → Juan compró [FOC el periódico] (Olarrea 2012:605). The association of nuclear stress with sentence-final neutral focus (Zubizarreta 1998) favours the tendency to place focalized items towards the end of the sentence. The need to mark neutral (non-emphatic) focus of constituents also favours use of varied word orders, so that the context set up by ‘Who bought the newspaper?’ requires movement of the subject to sentence-final position to mark neutral focus: compró el periódico [FOC Juan]. In transitive sentences, subjects (agents) may appear in different positions (SVO, VOS, VSO), so that beside Pedro llamó a María, one also finds llamó a María Pedro and llamó Pedro a María ‘Pedro called María’, each of which allows different orderings of given and new information.

Contrastive focus can be marked on final and non-final constituents by use of emphatic stress (characterized by a higher-than-normal pitch peak reached on the stressed syllable): Who bought the newspaper? → [FOC Juan] compró el periódico; What did Juan do with the newspaper? → Juan [FOC compró] el periódico (note that cleft sentences are also used to mark this kind of focus). In Asturian, emphatic stress on the subject is accompanied by proclisis: ¡[FOC este rapaz] nos lo díxo! ‘this boy to.us= it= said (= it was this boy who said it to us)’. Non-subject foci may also be fronted to the left periphery of the sentence: [FOC el periódico] compró Juan. In these cases, the fronted focus receives emphatic stress and is obligatorily accompanied by subject–verb inversion when the fronted focus is a complement of the verb. Bare nouns with unaccusative verbs may also be fronted: niños llegaron (y no adultos) ‘children arrived (and not adults)’.

The syntactic patterns of exclamations and interrogatives are similar to those of focus fronting. Exclamations front the direct object or predicate complement, usually accompanied by a wh-word (articulated with emphatic stress), and show subject–verb inversion: ¡Qué grande está el nene! ‘How big is the boy (= how big the boy is!)’. Non-echo interrogative questions require fronting of the wh-word/phrase (articulated with peak intonation) along with inversion: ¿Con quién salió Juan? ‘With whom left Juan (= with whom did Juan leave?); ¿Qué quieres (tú)? ‘What want (you) (= what do you want)?’. In Caribbean varieties, speakers prefer ¿Qué tú quieres? ‘What do you want?’, without inversion and with overt use of the personal pronoun. Polar questions may show inversion, but are often marked only by final rising intonation: ¿Compró Juan el periódico? ¿Juan compró el periódico? ‘Did Juan buy the newspaper?’

Since topics generally precede predicates, subjects (in both active and passive sentences) often occupy topic position. However, other constituents may be topicalized by dislocation, usually to the left periphery: todos los días compra Juan el periódico ‘all the days buys Juan the newspaper (= Juan buys the newspaper every day)’. This frequently occurs with complements, which can be topicalized by left-dislocation, with an overt coreferential element: (en cuanto a) Juan, no me acuerdo de él ‘(as for) Juan, not me.REFL= remember of him (= as for Juan, I don’t remember him)’. Complements (and other constituents) may also be topicalized by clitic left-dislocation, which disallows an overt coreferential element other than a required clitic (el periódico lo compró Juan ‘the newspaper it= bought Juan (= the newpaper, Juan bought it)’; a Juan le gusta el café ‘to Juan to.him= is.pleasing the coffee (= Juan likes coffee)’ (see also Gutiérrez Ordóñez 1997; Zubizarreta 1999; Rodríguez Ramalle 2003; 2005). In more colloquial language one finds clitic right-dislocation, which also requires a clitic copy but is articulated with pause intonation: Juan lo compró, el periódico.

Notes:

(1) General discussion of phonological and grammatical features is based on descriptions and analyses included in Zamora Vicente (1967), Green (1988a), Nagore Laín (1986), Lipski (1994; 2008), Alvar (1996a, b), Bosque and Demonte (1999), Bunis (1999), Penny (2000; 2002), Zagona (2002), Hualde (2005), Quintana Rodríguez (2006), Academia de la Llingua Asturiana (2001), Real Academia Española/Asociación de Academias de la Lengua (2009–11), Academia de l’Aragonés (2010), Hualde et al. (2013). Examples are from Spanish unless otherwise noted. Judaeo-Spanish words are often given in phonetic transcription and followed by the standard Spanish equivalent when this is similar to the Judaeo-Spanish word; otherwise a transliteration from Hebrew script is provided.

(2) Note that Aragonese /ʃ/ derives also from sequences such as -SC-, which developed differently elsewhere: PISCEM > Ara. peix ‘fish’, Sp. [peθ‎] pez.

(3) In other varieties of Spanish, ello is retained as a relic of count/non-count systems (which also existed in medieval Castilian), and it now appears primarily in formal registers and fossilized expressions such as por ello ‘for/because.of it’ (Harris-Northall 2010).

(4) The distinction between ser and estar is now often analysed as a lexical distinction between ‘individual-level’ and ‘stage-level’ predicates (Zagona 2002:47f.). However, Camacho (2013) argues that some uses, such as time of day with ser and progressives with estar, do not fit neatly in this analysis; he proposes that there exists an aspectual distinction between the two, with estar marking inchoative aspect and ser unmarked for aspect.