Boletín de filología
versión ISSN 0718-9303
AIJON OLIVA, Miguel Ángel. The placement of the clitic se in verbal compounds: Variation and meaning. Boletín de Filología [online]. 2010, vol.45, n.2, pp. 11-29. ISSN 0718-9303. doi: 10.4067/S0718-93032010000200001.
The definition of morphosyntactic variables is generally grounded on the sameness of their variants at the descriptive semantic level; however, differences usually exist as to their discursive and cognitive values. Thus reflexive forms in the Spanish clitic paradigm can be seen as devices used to reinforce subject-verb agreement and generate certain meanings in discourse. Third-person se stands out among them due to its contextual versatility and the variety of uses attributed to it by descriptive grammar. However, from a functional-cognitive viewpoint it should be assumed that all such uses share a single semantic core, namely the notion that the subject becomes the endpoint of the action or process described by the verb. In this paper we will analyze syntactic and semantic variability of the position of se when adjoined to periphrases and other verbal compounds (e.g. Se puede hacer / Puede hacerse ‘It can be done’). Quantitative and qualitative analysis will show that formal variation is closely related to the interpretation speakers make of the scene described in a clause, and particularly to aspects such as the salience and agentivity of the main entity in that scene.
Palabras clave : morphosyntactic variation; clitics; se; verbal periphrases; meaning.