Across the Spanish speaking world, the adverb quizá(s) and its association with epistemic stance has garnered much attention (Woehr 1972, Schwenter 2008). In the current study, the route of phonological and semantic change of the Latin interrogative phrase quis sapit, 'who knows?' is traced as it grammaticalized into the epistemic adverb quizá(s). Through the collection and analysis of 183 tokens from Spanish texts from diverse centuries, it is shown that the evolution of the epistemic adverb followed a clear path of grammaticalization. In addition, specific tokens from each stage of grammaticalization of quizá(s) are examined in order to demonstrate Traugott's (1989) tendencies of semantic change. Finally, the research illustrates how the increasing association of quizá(s) with the subjunctive mood coincides with Traugott's (1989) Tendency III, whereby meaning becomes increasingly subjective. This might suggest that the use of the subjunctive in association with epistemic adverbs does not indicate lower probability; instead, it could imply greater subjectivity on the part of the speaker.
Selected Proceedings of the 13th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Luis A. Ortiz-López
Table of contents