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Evolution in Romance Verbal Systems


Edited By 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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Monica-Alexandrina IRIMIA Indirect evidentiality and related domains: some observations from the current evolution of the Romanian presumptive 221


Indirect evidentiality and related domains: Some observations from the current evolution of the Romanian presumptive Monica-Alexandrina IRIMIA, University of Toronto One distinguishing feature of the Romanian tense-aspect-mood (hence- forth, TAM) domain is the presence of a morpho-syntactic paradigm tradi- tionally labelled the presumptive mood. As noticed several times (Slave 1957, Goudet 1977, Dimitriu 1979, Irimia 1983, Friedman 1986, 2004, Av- ram and Hill 2007, Squartini 2001, 2005, Irimia 2010) this class poses par- ticular theoretical challenges regarding its composition and morphology. Its highly idiosyncratic character is manifested by the presence of unique mor- phological patterns which nevertheless make use of morphological pieces (auxiliaries, participials) which can also be mapped to slightly distinct se- mantics when combined with distinct building blocks. Nevertheless, in the perfect forms, the indirect evidential semantics of the presumptive illus- trates formal syncretism with interpretations corresponding to other modals, like the conditional, or the future, which are normally considered to create individual paradigms (as they are morphologically individuated in the non-perfect uses). And yet another important observation is that in modern Romanian some non-perfect (present) sub-paradigms of the pre- sumptive are morphologically decaying, while their semantics is transferred to the non-perfect forms of the related TAM paradigms. The Romanian presumptive constitutes therefore an excellent testing ground for at least two directions in languages: i) the structure and the development of indirect evidentiality; ii) the morphological distribution of TAM notions, and their interactions. This paper proposes a morpho-semantic analysis of the struc- ture of indirect evidentiality in Romanian,...

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