The category of time in the expression of modality in Spanish and Portuguese


  • Natalia Czopek



modality, time, indicative, conjunctive, subjunctive


The principal purpose of the essay is to show the influence of the category of time on various means of expressing modality in Spanish and Portuguese, defined as a relation of the speaker to the content of the statement as well as to the interlocutor. Among the wide array of language means used to express this category, mood has been chosen, especially the indicative and conjunctive, on which the analysis has been based. We examine the modal values of the conjunctive mode (two-dimensional) that has no fixed point of reference in the present, has an incomplete representation of time and can be oriented to the future, the present or the past. We also describe the use of some of the indicative tenses (three-dimensional, i.e. providing a complete picture of the time) as the future or the imperfect indicative that in certain propositions can be used as markers of epistemic and deontic modality. Another key goal of the study is to investigate the use of semantic, pragmatic and syntactic criteria in the analysis of the use of the above mentioned moods. It also establishes a connection between the mode and the time, emphasizing the “dynamic side” of reality. The results are showed in the form of tables in which analogies and differences are clearly visible.


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Author Biography

Natalia Czopek

Natalia Czopek é professora auxiliar do Departamento de Filologia Portuguesa e Traductologia, do Instituto de Filologia Românica da Universidade Jaguelónica de Cracóvia, Polónia. Em 2009 defendeu a tese de doutoramento titulada O subjuntivo / o conjuntivo como um dos meios de expressão de modalidade nas línguas espanhola e portuguesa. As suas áreas
de investigação actuais são a morfologia e a sintaxe das línguas espanhola e portuguesa, linguística comparativa e as línguas crioulas de base portuguesa. A sua actividade didáctica abrange o ensino da linguística portuguesa (fonética, lexicologia, morfologia, sintaxe, história da língua, linguística teórica) e orientação de teses de licenciatura. 



How to Cite

Czopek, N. (2012). The category of time in the expression of modality in Spanish and Portuguese. Verba Hispanica, 20(1), 165–183.