The perfect between Latin and Romance

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The development of Romance periphrastic perfect forms, in particular of HABERE + Past Participle, has often been claimed to be the result of a grammaticalization process. Proponents of this approach argue that the Latin verb HABERE (‘to have’) gradually underwent a change of status from lexical to functional, following a systematic path (Harris 1982, a.o.). This study will present evidence to show that this hypothesis comes up against both empirical and theoretical issues. Conversely, it will illustrate that the emergence of Romance perfective periphrases might be more correctly considered a consequence of the active/inactive alignment characterizing the Latin verbal system. This approach will also pave the way to an understanding of the rise of modern auxiliation patterns from a diachronic point of view.


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