Languages, Vol. 6, Pages 157: The Use of the Future Subjunctive in Colonial Spanish Texts: Evidence of Vitality or Demise?
Languages doi: 10.3390/languages6040157
This article examines the use of the future subjunctive in two corpora of colonial Mexican texts. The first corpus consists of 255 documents dated 1561–1646 pertaining primarily to the historical area of New Galicia and dealing with matters of the Real Audiencia of Guadalajara. The second consists of 191 documents dated 1681–1816 written in the altiplano central of Mexico, which covers a large geographical area from Mexico City to Zacatecas. After describing the syntactic distribution of the future subjunctive in Medieval Spanish, we examine the evidence of its patterns of usage in Peninsular Spanish in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. From there, we analyze the quantitative and qualitative data related to the 428 tokens of -re forms found in our corpora and the syntactic structures in which they appear. The data support findings that the future subjunctive first fell out of use in temporal adverbial clauses, while exhibiting the most apparent productivity in relative clauses. However, the corpora examined provide no evidence that the paradigm survived longer in Latin American Spanish than in Peninsular Spanish, as has been argued. Rather, this study suggests that by the eighteenth century, the future subjunctive was a highly stylized marker of formality or politeness in written Spanish.
Free full text: Read More