Through the Looking Glass: the Development of the Subjunctive Mood in Romance



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This thesis investigates existing research on the linguistic evolution of Latin, Spanish, and French in order to form an in-depth, multilingual analysis of the development of the subjunctive mood in Romance over time. The diachronic nature of the conclusions of this research are supported by synchronic examinations of individual languages. Six distinct subjunctive systems are studied within the thesis: Classical Latin, Vulgar Latin, Old Spanish, Modern Spanish, Old French, and Modern French. Each subjunctive system is evaluated through the dual lenses of morphology and pragmatics. That is, within every language, changes in both grammatical mood formation as well as semantic use of the subjunctive are evaluated. Elements of stability and variability are identified in each language, and observations made during this investigation are connected to established theories of general language change. Finally, predictions for the future of the subjunctive mood in Romance are made using evidence from the research. Overall, this thesis finds that while superficial changes in the subjunctive moods of Latin, Spanish, and French abound, the core significance and usage of the subjunctive remains relatively unchanged.



Romance Languages, Spanish, French, Latin, Linguistics, Grammar, Subjunctive Mood, Verb Morphology, Language Change and Evolution