On the Categorial Ambivalence of un montón and Other Similar Quantifiers

Javier San Julián Solana


Owing to their ability to express indefinite (superlative) quantification, units like montón, porrón or barbaridad (~ bestialidad ~ burrada ~ brutalidad) are often included among quantifying nouns. But along with a series of clearly nominal features, they have other features which are typical of adverbs. The aim of this paper is precisely to provide a reasonable explanation for this categorial hybridism. Applying the theoretical and methodological principles of the Functional Grammar of Spanish, we try to demonstrate that they are not “amphibious” units. On the contrary, we argue that, from a synchronic point of view, two sets of signs should be distinguished, which are functionally and lexically different but have “clonal” signifiers: a) nouns –with designative meaning– montón/es, porrón/es, barbaridad/es, and b) adverbial phrases un montón, un porrón, una barbaridad, which are pure quantifiers, according to their lexeme.


un montón/porrón, una barbaridad/bestialidad/burrada/brutalidad, quantifying/quantifier nouns, adverbial phrases, Spanish

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4312/vh.24.1.109-123


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Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts
(Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani) 

Print ISSN: 0353-9660
Online ISSN: 2350-4250