Describing motion events in Old and Modern French

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French, like the other Romance languages, has evolved from a satelliteframed type wherein Path of motion is preferentially expressed in a verb satellite (either a prefix or a particle) to a verb-framed type wherein Path is preferentially expressed in the verb. Based on translations from Old to Modern French, this chapter investigates the effects of this structural reorganization on the expression of Path in narrative pointing to differences in the types of strategies storytellers employ and the types of information they attend to when they describe Path. It shows that the typological change that French has undergone has crucial consequences not only for the organization of Path information in clauses, but also for the granularity of Path and the attention given to its components (i.e. initial and final). In contrast to Old French where Path tends to be depicted in detailed fashion, Modern French gives less emphasis to Path and appears to be more selective as to the types of Path components that are expressed in narrative.


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