Keywords: ser, estar, adjective, gradability, individual-level, stage-level, predication, evidentiality, grammaticalization, Galician, copulative, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, variation, dialectology
This paper analyzes the properties and distribution of the forms ser and estar when combined with adjectival complements in copular sentences in Iberoromance languages. The paper sets a detailed data paradigm that brings into light several differences between Western Iberian Romance languages (Galician, Portuguese, Castilian) and Eastern ones (like Catalan). The explanation relies on the hypothesis developed in Gumiel-Molina, Moreno-Quibén and Pérez-Jiménez 2015a to account for the properties of the «copula+adjective» structure in Spanish. The specificities shown by Catalan can be explained if one auxiliary hypothesis is assumed: a process of linguistic change is taking place in Catalan so that two estar forms coexist synchronically. Moreover, it will be proposed that the form estar in Western Iberian languages underwent a grammaticalization process that accounts for the fact that the so-called «evidential use of estar » is fully extended in these languages, but not in Catalan.