what to make of the Spanish IRSE?

Donald Stilo stilo at EVA.MPG.DE
Mon Sep 15 18:39:08 UTC 2014

Dear Enrique,

Regarding Juan se murió *de un disparo:  But me muero de hambre is OK, isn't it? Why? Is it because it is not external?

And to Sergey: in addition to Spanish irse, note French: je m'en vais, Italian me ne vado "I'm leaving, going away".

Thanks, Don

On Sep 15, 2014, at 5:21 PM, ENRIQUE BERNARDEZ SANCHIS wrote:

> Dear Sergey. No mystery here. The reflexive marker came to be used with a variety of senses, all of them impliying the action is seen as restricted to the participant; it may be reflexive (afeitarse: to shave (oneself)) to pure middle voice: "caerse" "to fall down" implies that no external entity or agent is responsible for the fall; to inceptive "irse" which usually marks the beginning of the process of going. Another use of the -se form (a pronoun in fact) is a kind of emphasis on the absolute limitation of the action/process to the participant: rather like "caerse" but I would see in a more radical way: morirse "to die" is different from simple morir (also to die). The first (-se form) just tells us that the person died, with the specific exclusion of any external participant, whereas in morir (or in caer) the external participant, more or less agentive, is not excluded. You cannot say "Juan se murió de un disparo" (Juan died from a shot / because of a shot...), whereas Juan murió de un disparo is perfectly common.
> Any history of the Spanish Language (there are many, in Spanish, German, French, also in Russian, English...) you will find the historical process leading from the reflexive to this array of "intransitivised" constructions.
> Enrique
> 2014-09-15 15:39 GMT+02:00 Sergey Lyosov <sergelyosov at inbox.ru>:
> Dear typologists,
> what do you think –se is doing on the Spanish irse  ‘to go away, to leave’? How come a reflexive marker on a detransitive verb of motion?
>   Sergey  
> -- 
> Enrique Bernárdez
> Catedrático de Lingüística General
> Departamento de Filología Románica, Filología Eslava y Lingüística General
> Facultad de Filología
> Universidad Complutense de Madrid

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