The grammaticalization of progressive constructions with a focus on the English progressive

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The article claims that progressive markers may develop out of purely emphatic markers. These markers develop into markers of ‘stressed ongoingness’, which emphasize that the timing of an event is remarkable, either in relation to some temporal reference point or in relation to some other event. The development into markers of ‘stressed ongoingness’ takes place with the help of adverbials which also express remarkableness, as well as contemporaneousness – or more specifically, remarkable contemporaneousness, e.g. just, already and still. With time, the temporal meaning of the collocation becomes prominent, while the emphatic meaning is downgraded. This paves the ground for the development of a pure progressive marker. The hypothesis is substantiated by evidence from a number of modern languages, which shows that the use progressive markers is generally triggered by adverbials such as just, already and still.


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