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ERIC Number: EJ946132
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2133
Synchronous Narratives in Spanish: The Simple Present/Present Progressive Aspectual Contrast
Mayberry, Maria
Hispania, v94 n3 p462-482 Sep 2011
The purpose of this work is to examine the aspectual differences between the usage of simple present and the progressive forms in Spanish in the context of synchronous narratives (i.e., events that participants narrate at the same time they are watching video clips of the events). To that end, the study examines the distribution of verbal morphology in 368 synchronous narratives produced by 23 native Spanish speakers. Each participant described sixteen scenes. The findings suggest that tense selection in synchronous narratives is influenced by the interaction of discourse principles of foregrounding and backgrounding (Hopper 1979) and the inherent temporal characteristics of verbal predicates (i.e., lexical aspect) to encode aspectual distinctions. Thus, the context of synchronous narratives imposes constraints on discourse: punctual and telic events serve to foreground the plot and evoke the use of the simple present, as the preterite does in narratives in the past. Conversely, the progressive is used with atelic and durative events that provide the background of the present time frame narrative in a manner analogous to the imperfect in the past. (Contains 4 figures, 8 tables, and 14 notes.)
American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, Inc. 900 Ladd Road, Walled Lake, MI 48390. Tel: 248-960-2180; Fax: 248-960-9570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A