The grammaticalization of negative indefinites
This chapter traces the diachronic evolution in Medieval French of two temporal/aspectual n-words of adverbial origin, the markers <i>mais</i> (< Lat. MAGIS ‘more, to a greater degree’) and <i>plus</i> (< Lat. PLUS ‘more’), equivalent to English <i>no more/no longer</i>, <i>anymore/any longer</i>, with a view to addressing two theoretical issues: (i) whether the evolution of indefinites is unidirectional, as claimed by Haspelmath (1997), or rather subject to a “random diachronic walk”, as suggested by Jäger (2010); (ii) whether the evolution of the French n-words can be described in terms of a general cyclical development parallel to that of the standard clause negator (commonly known as Jespersen’s Cycle). It is argued that, like those reported in Hansen (2012), the results of this study support the random walk hypothesis, and weakens the case for a quantifier cycle in French. Moreover, the results of the two studies suggest that functional categories, or paradigms, are pragmatic, rather than linguistic, entities.