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Evolution in Romance Verbal Systems


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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Telmo MÓIA Portuguese temporal expressions with haver and their Romance counterparts – Semantic interpretation and grammaticalization 285


Portuguese temporal expressions with haver and their Romance counterparts – Semantic interpretation and grammaticalization1 Telmo MÓIA, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa 1. Preliminary aspects This paper analyses Portuguese temporal phrases that include the verb haver (‘there be’) and involve retrospective time measurement from an anchor point – for an analysis of comparable phrases, cf. e.g. Molinès (1989), Bras (1990), Bras & Molinès (1993), Asher et al. (1995),2 or Móia (2000). The main focus is on grammaticalization issues, which – to my knowledge – have not been comprehensively discussed in the literature about this sub- type of expressions. I will start by observing two preliminary facts. First, the phrases under scrutiny have counterparts in many Romance languages, also with verbs, originating from two Latin predicates – habēre and facĕre – as shown in Table 1, and exemplified in sentences Table 1:3 1 This paper was funded by the research project ‘O Tempo e o Modo em Português’ (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, PTDC/LIN/68463/2006). I would like to thank Debora Ricci, Emmanuelle Labeau, Francine Arroyo and León Acosta for their help with the Italian, French and Spanish data. 2 These authors – referring back to Molinès (1989) and Bras & Molinès (1993) – state that ‘[...] [locating time adverbials@ fall into [...] classes, depending on [...] whether or not the identification of the referent depends on the projection of a length of time on the temporal axis (from some given point). For example, for the adverbials il...

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