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Degrees of grammaticalization in three Romance languages: A comparative analysis of existential constructions

Abstract : Grammaticalization is generally assumed to be a gradual process and languages are thought to be grammaticalized to different degrees. For Romance languages, it has often been claimed that French is far more grammaticalized than Spanish, and that Italian occupies an intermediate position between these two. The aim of this study is to investigate to what extent this claim applies to existential constructions. In present-day French, Italian and Spanish, the most frequent existentials are il y a, c’è and hay respectively, all three being highly grammaticalized expressions. My analysis of these constructions will be based on the six parameters of grammaticalization as defined by Lehmann (1985, 1995), looking at instances drawn from a large newspaper corpus. The discussion will suggest that, as expected, French existential constructions display several signs of a highly advanced grammaticalization process which their Spanish and Italian counterparts lack. Moreover, it will be shown that the existential construction is least grammaticalized in Italian.
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https://hal.univ-reims.fr/hal-02473721
Contributor : Bu De Reims Champagne-Ardenne <>
Submitted on : Monday, February 10, 2020 - 8:55:17 PM
Last modification on : Friday, June 19, 2020 - 6:27:26 PM

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Machteld Meulleman. Degrees of grammaticalization in three Romance languages: A comparative analysis of existential constructions. Folia Linguistica, De Gruyter, 2012, 46 (2), pp.417-452. ⟨10.1515/flin.2012.015⟩. ⟨hal-02473721⟩

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