Cambio semántico meliorativo de guapo: De la percepción olfativa y gustativa a la percepción visual



Paraules clau:

diachronic cognitive semantics, prototype, deprototypization, metaphor, metonymy, meliorative change


The present paper focuses on the meliorative change that the adjective guapo [handsome (m) /pretty (f)] has experienced from Latin (vappa ‘vino desvirtuado, evaporado’ [altered, evaporated wine], fig. ‘hombre inútil, bribón, granuja’ [good-for-nothing (man), rascal, scamp]) to current Castilian Spanish (‘bien parecido’ [good-looking], ‘acicalado, bien vestido’ [dressed up, well-dressed], amongst others); in other words, a change of perception has taken place: from the olfactory and gustatory perception towards a visual one. The theoretical framework used for the analysis is the one provided by the diachronic prototype semantics presented by Geeraerts in his work of 1997, where this author laid the foundations for the study of semantic variation. From this framework, it is possible to explain the semasiological modulation that guapo has undergone since its first appearance in Castilian Spanish documentation (1638) with pejorative connotations up to the almost meliorative ones which were gradually favored from the 18th century onwards. Evidence will be provided, on the one hand, about the fact that semantic change is caused by reasons of a psychological nature as well as by metaphoric and metonymic mechanisms derived not only from the speakers’ encyclopedic knowledge but also from the sociocultural context where they live. On the other hand, proof of the fact that the new meaning became the prototype of the category guapo from the second half of the 18th century onwards is also given.


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Com citar

Provencio Garrigós, H. (2023). Cambio semántico meliorativo de guapo: De la percepción olfativa y gustativa a la percepción visual. Anuari De Filologia. Estudis De Lingüística, 6, 161–194.



Semántica histórica: nuevas aproximaciones al estudio de la evolución del significado, coordinado por J. Fernández Jaén