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Auteur: Xosé SOTO ANDIÓN

The Semantics of CAER

Abstract/Résumé: The aim of this paper is to analyse constructions with Caer as nucleus in close languages like Galician and Spanish. We will try to examine the variety of these structures to prove, in the light of the theory of the construction and in the theoretical frame of the semantic-syntactic schemes, that this predicate cannot be compartmentalized within a single semantic class of action and movement, since it takes part in constructions of action, process, state, situation. With a basis on the concept of construction, we will try to project this semantic concept into these structures in order to analyse these new schemes, new contents and a new semantic roles. We can say, from the analysis and the implemented theoretical basis, that caer is a predicate that always has intransitive constructions, and that the semantics of caer is evident in constructions that present the syntactic scheme of subject-predicate, with semantic schemes of affected-action (mainly), experimentor-process, strength-action; and in constructions of two or more roles where syntactic schemes are subject-predicate-adverb (mainly), subject-predicate-indirect complement, subject-predicate-prepositional complement, subject-predicate-indirect complement-predicative, subject-predicate-indirect complement-adverb, with the semantic scheme effect producer-effect production-manner, effect producer-effect production-affected-manner, agent-action-ending, experimentor-process-ending, affected-action-ending, event-action-affected/prejudiced, situated-situation-spatial location, state carrier-state-affected-manner. In Galician there are hardly any pronominal variants, so when se appears works as an indeterminer of the subject. In Spanish its presence derives from the content of the construction (se cayó por la escalera / he fell down the stairs; *se cayó en la guerra / he fell in the war); also it is possible to indicate an indetermined subject and to reinforce its role of affected and its presence in the construction itself. The results demonstrate that caer is semantically variable and commutable to other verbs such as derrubar/derrumbar/to demolish, sucumbir/to succumb, morrer/morir/to die, desaparecer/to disappear, tocar/to win, baixar/bajar/to go down, debilitarse/to weaken, sentar/to sit, atacar/to attack, decatarse/darse cuenta/to realise, situarse/to place, coincidir/to coincide, colgar/to hang… It is a versatile predicate that cannot be compartmentalized within a single semantic class of movement, since it reflects a range of semantic types that includes actions, processes, states and situations.