Desta vez non falo eu, senón en Quora. A pregunta é:
Ygor Coelho, Language and linguistics enthusiast.
Well, there is no why, it just happened, and not just in Portuguese. Basically all Iberian Romance and some other Romance languages make the same distinction, too. Italian actually also uses “stare", but it is more like “to stay” (the original meaning of the verb) than “to be at this moment, circumstantially”. There is no “why”, but the “how" can be explained and is traced back to a time when Portuguese language did not even exist. In some Late Latin/Early Romance dialects “to stay” started to be used instead of “to be” when a transient state or quality was implied by the speaker. And that trend stuck in some places and not in others.
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The Celtic languages also have two verbs to be, perhaps that was an influence. In Irish the main verb is TÁ, which is cognate with estar and originally stands. Irish also a habitual verb bíonn (in English he does be) and a copula to define in straight terms: is fear é. He is a man. You can’t say tá sé fear, and must use the copula instead.
Very interesting! That would make sense, but then I wonder how we could explain, if underlying Celtic influence was a the root of these two copula vebs, the fact that the languages born in Gaul itself lack this feature, and North Italian dialects (where Celtic was also spoken) also lack it, but South Italian dialects have the same distinction (and Celtic was never spoken there). It is intriguing. Maybe it has something to do with areal features that influenced all the Atlantic coast from Galicia to Ireland. We know there had been mutual influences and contacts since the Megalithic era in that region.
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