From chronological to axiological meaning in Spanish adjectives: any past time was worse (cualquiera tiempo pasado fue peor)

Authors

  • Manuel Casado Velarde

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/vh.20.1.81-101

Keywords:

qualifying adjective, appraisal, Spanish semantics, argumentation, newspaper discourse, corpus study

Abstract

This article aims to show how the Spanish adjectives antediluviano, decimonónico, medieval and prehistórico, whose original meaning as relational adjectives was linked to the designation of certain periods in time, have acquired an axiological meaning, specifically a negative and pejorative one. This evaluative nature makes them particularly suited as instruments for argumentative discourse. More specifically, I deal with the pejorative appraisal of these adjectives in a corpus of journalistic language (the Spanish newspapers ABC and El País during 2010). Journalistic language is a discourse type that typically combines evaluation and brevity for its persuasive purpose. The fact that the four listed adjectives, all concerning former times, have acquired a negative connotation – in contrast to, for example, actual, contemporáneo, moderno – reveals a concomitant cultural phenomenon: the predominance of a very widespread mentality in which what belongs to the past lacks value for this simple reason; a mentality that might be called ‘chronocentrist’, for which, to paraphrase Jorge Manrique, any time gone by was worse.

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Author Biography

Manuel Casado Velarde

Manuel Casado Velarde es catedrático de Lengua Española en la Universidad de Navarra y miembro correspondiente de la Real Academia Española. Ha sido profesor en las Universidades de Sevilla, Autónoma de Barcelona y
La Coruña. Coordina el equipo GRADUN (Grupo Análisis del Discurso, Instituto Cultura y Sociedad, Universidad de Navarra) que lleva a cabo un proyecto de investigación sobre «El discurso público. Estrategias persuasivas y
de interpretación». Además de cuestiones de gramática del texto (marcadores discursivos), se ha ocupado de la formación de palabras en español (abreviaciones, siglas, acrónimos, delocutivos, etc.) y de la lingüística del texto
(polifonía y argumentación).

Published

31.12.2012

How to Cite

Casado Velarde, M. (2012). From chronological to axiological meaning in Spanish adjectives: any past time was worse (cualquiera tiempo pasado fue peor). Verba Hispanica, 20(1), 81–101. https://doi.org/10.4312/vh.20.1.81-101

Issue

Section

Linguistics