Perspectivized estar-sentences with aesthetic adjectives across American Spanish varieties

Gumiel-Molina, Silvia, Norberto Moreno-Quibén, and Isabel Pérez-Jiménez. 2023. “Perspectivized Estar-Sentences with Aesthetic Adjectives across American Spanish Varieties.” Spanish in Context.

The article describes the behavior of aesthetic adjectives (bonito ‘beautiful’) in the so-called innovative constructions with estar ‘be estar ’, documented in some American varieties of Spanish. These innovative structures (El poema está bonito ‘The poem is beautiful’) do not compare stages of the subject with respect to an aesthetic property (as would be their meaning in general Spanish), but rather express a perspectivized assertion, linked to the subjective judgment of the speaker about a particular quality. The article explains this pattern of variation on the basis of the work by Gumiel-Molina, Moreno-Quibén and Pérez-Jiménez (2020) and Moreno-Quibén (2022) , according to which the classes of adjectives that appear in perspectivized estar-sentences have undergone a process of argument augmentation. Aesthetic adjectives in innovative estar-construction have an experiencer in their argument structure in the varieties of Spanish where this construction is possible. This experiencer serves as the basis for establishing the comparison required by estar and ultimately gives rise to the subjective/perspectivized meaning of the copular structure.

Keywords: aesthetic adjectives ; variation ; evaluative adjectives ; estar ; copulas