When espacio means ‘time’: relativity in some locative expressions in Spanish
Keywords:adverbs, prepositional phrases, locative nouns, constructions of temporal value, syntax, semantics
Some nouns which have locative lexical features can also make temporal references. This article discusses some of them (espacio, punto, camino, renglón and trecho) and analyses the constructions with a temporal signification in which they are involved. The possibility of making temporal references is given sometimes by the semantics of the verb and the lexical features of other units present in the syntagmatic chain. Among these units, the adjacent of the nucleus plays an important role: when the adjacent is an adjective that describes the part occupied by an object or the capacity of a place, the spatial sense is obtained. By contrast, the noun can be accompanied by adjectives involving ‘duration’, or nouns that are used as a measure of time, and which indicate a temporal interpretation of the statement (No dijo nada por un largo espacio de tiempo; Se mantuvo en silencio por un espacio de dos horas). In other cases, some nouns are part of adverbial constructions with a temporal value (al punto, en punto, etc.). Finally, others have been fi xed in prepositional phrases that syntactically operate as transposing elements and semantically provide lexical features such as ‘duration’ or ‘direction’ related to a process (a punto de, camino de).
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