Reanalysis and gramma(ticaliza)tion of constructions

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The purpose of this paper is to study language change as instances of usage-based reanalysis. We intend to show that a specific Romance complementation, namely the deictic relative, found mainly with verbs of perception, acquires the status of construction (i.e. a <i>schematic construction</i> according to the terminology of Croft &#38; Cruse (2004, p. 255)). According to our conception of grammar, this implies a change from an individual, lexically determined structure, into a grammatical construction. We will show that this change from lexical (=A) to grammatical (=B), is a usage-based reanalysis, i.e. a new analysis of received usage due to structural ambiguity, without immediate surface manifestation of a change (see the definition in Andersen 2008, p. 33). This in turn implies that the speaker interprets the content of one expression first as A, then B and possibly C. The diachronic study of the deictic relative with the perception verb <i>voir</i> in French is based on corpus data from different stages of the language. We intend to show that the innovation spreads from oral to written text types, as witnessed from theatre to other genres.


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