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Por descontado. Creación de un marcador de evidencia

Francisco Javier Herrero Ruiz de Loizaga    Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Instituto Universitario Menéndez Pidal, España    



This paper studies the development of por descontado and the previous construction por de contado, which is attested from the 18th century. It comes from the prepositional phrase de contado, which originally had the meaning ‘in cash’, but in the 16th century acquires also the value ‘on the spot’. This slip is possible because what is paid in cash is paid on the spot. A subsequent slip leads to the value ‘of course’. Since the end of the 19th century, there are constructions of the type dar o tener por descontado, with the meaning ‘take for granted’, in which por descontado is a predicative complement of a noun clause. Given the similarity in meaning between these constructions and por de contado, there was a formal interference that led to the appearance of por descontado as a formal variant of the marker por de contado. This variant is attested from the beginning of the 20th century, and from the second half it becomes the dominant form.

Dec. 14, 2019
Oct. 23, 2019
Sept. 30, 2019

Keywords: CertaintyDiscourse markerGrammaticalizationEvidentialityEpistemic markerConfirmation

Copyright: © 2019 Francisco Javier Herrero Ruiz de Loizaga. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.