On Auxiliary Chains: Lexical and Functional Auxiliaries at the syntax-semantics interface


  • Ana Bravo Universidad de Murcia
  • Luis García Departamento de Lengua Española I y Teoría de la Literatura, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Diego Gabriel Krivochen University of Reading




Auxiliary verbs, auxiliary chains, modal deontic verbs, mixed phrase structure


The present paper is focused on the study of those relations that auxiliary verbs can establish among themselves when chained in a sequence. Regarding those sequences, which in Spanish can be considerably long, the literature has displayed primarily interest in formulating a set of principles that can predict possible relative orderings among auxiliaries. On the contrary, our paper delves into a less walked path: the description of relations established within an auxiliary chain. We will start from the traditional definition of auxiliary verb as a unit that modifies the ‘main’ or ‘lexical’ verb, and proceed to show that such a conception makes the wrong predictions when it comes to explain those internal relations, for it only accounts for a subset of the cases. This explanatory problem is common to both traditional and more formal models. In our opinion, the distinction between between lexical and functional auxiliaries that we propose in this work, in the context of a dynamic computational model that includes and derives this distinction, allows us to overcome these shortcomings of traditional analyses.




How to Cite

Bravo, A., García, L., & Krivochen, D. G. (2015). On Auxiliary Chains: Lexical and Functional Auxiliaries at the syntax-semantics interface. Borealis – An International Journal of Hispanic Linguistics, 4(2), 71–101. https://doi.org/10.7557/



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