Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
The meaning differences that the temporal-aspectual system and the indicative and subjunctive versions of sentences trigger in the Spanish language are the cornerstone of its semantic and syntactic possibilities. These possibilities increase if we take into account not only all the types of subordinate clauses that exist in Spanish, but also the number of Spanish- speaking communities spread around the globe. This synchronic corpus-based study of Spanish major varieties focuses on dependent adverbial clauses introduced with ‘cuando’ (‘when’) in order to examine indicative and subjunctive mood distribution. Prescriptive standards tend to be too broad if they are applied to explain the opposition between indicative and subjunctive mood in every syntactic context (Real Academia Española, 2010). With respect to adverbial clauses introduced with ‘cuando’, there is no hesitation about mood distribution in causal, concessive, and conditional clauses (Alarcos, 1994; Campos, 1993; Gili Gaya, 1943; Haverkate, 2002). However, there is an issue that involves a type of temporal clauses: forward shifted/future- framed events. Some studies claim that ‘cuando’ triggers subjunctive when it describes future- framed events (Fábregas, 2014; Vesterinen & Bylund, 2013), while others suggest that neither indicative nor subjunctive can be ascribed to future-framed events unequivocally (Haverkate, 2002; Hoff, 2019a, 2019b; Kanwit & Geeslin, 2014, 2018). As Haverkate (2002) and Lunn (1989) describe, mood distribution variability is not unique of spoken language. Furthermore, further research is needed on mood distribution in terms of geographic variation, age, interpretation, and acceptability judgements (García & Terrell, 1977; Hoff, 2019a, 2019b; Kanwit & Geeslin, 2014, 2018; Schwenter & Hoff, 2019; Vesterinen & Bylund, 2013). Applying a categorization of Spanish major varieties (Muñoz-Basols, Moreno, Taboada, & Lacorte, 2017) and an analysis method used in a study similar to this one (Hoff, 2019a), the present study analyzes a corpus of journalistic Spanish arguing that the crosslinguistic inconsistencies of journalistic Spanish are related to pragmatic features of language that ultimately govern mood choice on the part of the writer (Dunlap, 2006). All the sentences were collected from one of the largest circulation newspapers edited in one of the countries that are part of each major variety. This study concludes that future-framed adverbial clauses introduced with ‘cuando’ overwhelmingly tend to trigger subjunctive in journalistic Spanish. These results match prescriptive accounts (Vesterinen & Bylund, 2013) and, as Haverkate (2002) claims, show a very low degree of epistemic commitment on the part of the writers. Since mood choice is sensitive to context and it has important social consequences for both the speaker and the hearer, this suggests that the languages like Modern Spanish that present subjunctive and indicative mood distinction tend to imprint the use of a consistent mood choice for future-framed adverbial clauses in journalistic language, which most likely can be extended to other genres of written language (Hoff, 2019a).
Carrasco Oteo, Julen, "Adverbial Clauses Introduced with ‘ Cuando’" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 1272.