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Evolution in Romance Verbal Systems

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Emmanuelle Labeau and Jacques Bres

The present book focuses on evolution in the Romance verbal systems. In the wake of Bybee’s and Dahl’s studies, it advocates the benefits of adopting a cross-linguistic and diachronic approach to the study of linguistic phenomena. Within the scope of the Romance family, similar cross-linguistic evolution paths are explored, as related languages at different stages of grammaticalisation may shed light on each other’s developments. A diachronic dimension also proves desirable for several reasons. First, a diachronic approach significantly enhances the explanatory power of linguistic theory by showing how a specific form came to convey a certain function. Second, change is better revealed in diachronic movement than in static synchrony. Third, meaning constantly evolves and a one-off probe will be less revealing than a sustained study through time. Finally and most importantly, similarities across languages appear more obviously in diachrony. All the chapters of this volume participate in their own way to that crosslinguistic and diachronic approach and help make it an original, focused contribution that covers all main Romance languages.

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Marianne COLLIER The aller Perfect 203

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The aller Perfect Marianne COLLIER, University of Essex 1. Introduction The future tense is by essence imperfective since the events considered are or will be in the process of happening; yet it can also view them as per- formed with the use of the future perfect. Since aller + infinitive expresses the future, it should be expected, when combined with a past participle, to also form a future perfect. One then may wonder if the growing role often attributed to the periphrastic future is also evident when forming a future perfect and what is the extent to which the aller perfect construction can replace the future perfect. 2. The future perfect The future perfect is formed with the auxiliary avoir (‘have’) or être (‘be’) in the future tense, followed by the past participle of a verb. As a compound form, it marks perfectivity and is referred to, in French, as future of anteri- ority (‘futur antérieur’) because it locates the event before some reference time in the future. In other words, the future anterior denotes an event seen as already completed at some time in the future (Grevisse 1993, L’Huillier 1999, Mauger 1977). Consider the following example, (1) J’aurai fini de travailler avant six heures [I will be done working before six o’clock] In (1), the event is not completed at the moment of utterance, finishing the work is anterior to six o’clock, itself posterior to the moment of speech (e.g. it will be before six …). The future anterior...

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