Spanish Verbs of Becoming and Cluster Concepts


  • Carlos Benavides University of Massachusetts Dartmouth



change of state verbs, cluster concepts, exemplar, copular verbs, similarity


The behavior of Spanish verbs of becoming (e.g., volverse rico ‘to become rich’), also known as pseudocopular or semicopular verbs, has received relatively little attention in the literature. Bybee & Eddington (2006) (B&E) analyze these verbs employing an exemplar model based on frequency and semantic similarity. The current paper presents an analysis of verbs of becoming based on the notion of cluster concepts (Jackendoff 2002, 1983), set within a scale, as an alternative account to B&E’s, that explains the behavior of this class of verbs in a more precise and comprehensive way. The current study shows that there are strong tendencies in the use of adjectives with a given verb of becoming, which correlate to their use with the copular verbs ser/estar. Crucially, the cluster concept model accounts for uses of adjectives that do not fall into any particular grouping in B&E’s model. A corpus study supports the analysis. The current study represents an original contribution in that it is the only study that treats verbs of becoming using the notion of cluster concepts.


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How to Cite

Benavides, C. (2023). Spanish Verbs of Becoming and Cluster Concepts. Borealis – An International Journal of Hispanic Linguistics, 12(2), 255–285.