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Subject: Modern Bibliography: 'ser' vs. 'estar' in Old Spanish
Question: Hello. I'd like to know if you can recommend me some new books or articles about the origin of the difference in verbs ''ser'' and ''estar'' in Spanish. I know that the difference is present also in Portuguese (and ''gallego''), so I think that maybe the roots of this is in a big branch that includes the ''galaico-portugués'' and the ''leonés'' (which I've read is the basis of Spanish -

According to Ricardo Carballo Calero, Portuguese and Spanish were originated as dialects of ''gallego'' and ''leonés'' respectively, which, in time, were originated from a ''protorromance galaico''. If his hypothesis were true, does
it mean that the beginning of our structure ser-estar started in this ''protorromance galaico''?

Thank you for your help and sorry for the Spanish words I haven't translated into English (I didn't know how to do it).

Roberto García

Reply: Hi, Roberto,

I know little about Portuguese (though I can read it). However,
one would have to investigate (using big historical corpora) the
*Portuguese* history of ser/estar. Any current differences
between Spanish and Portuguese uses could well be due to changes
*since* the separation of the predecessors of Spanish &
Portuguese, in which case we *would* have to go back to what
Carballo calls 'galaico' to trace the history of ser & estar.
There almost certainly are such differences in some areas between
Sp. & Port., but I just don't know if ser/estar is one of them.
In the opposite case, where the two languages separated and only
later developed their respective differences between ser & estar
(which may not be the case), then we would need to trace the
history further back, perhaps even taking into consideration the
facts of French &/or Italian & possibly other Romance languages
(especially Catalán, etc.). Other Panel members know more about
Romance than I do, and may be able to answer your question
better. Likewise, Wikipedia may have some useful information
(although I didn't find much in the Spanish version). You might
also try just Googling "ser y estar" or other variants. Good


James L. Fidelholtz
Graduate Program in Language Sciences
Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades
Benem'erita Universidad Aut'onoma de Puebla, M'EXICO
Reply From: James L Fidelholtz      click here to access email
Date: 12-Jan-2014
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Modern Bibliography: 'ser' vs. 'estar' in Old Spanish    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (12-Jan-2014)

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