Existential constructions

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Existential constructions are normally defined as sentences in which some entity is associated with some location giving rise to the so-called locative paradigm which also involves the locative and the possessive construction (cf. Freeze 2001). In spite of the apparent simplicity of this approach, the assumption of an allegedly universal locative paradigm leaves unaccounted a broad variety of languages in which existential constructions cannot be straightforwardly related to the locative onomasiological format. In these languages, existential constructions arise as a consequence of complex grammaticalization changes, which start from different source constructions. In this paper, a semasiological perspective is adopted, which aims at sketching a brief typology of the possible source constructions giving rise to existential constructions.<i>Einen Gott, den es gibt, gibt es nicht.</i>&#8216;There is no God which exists&#8217;.(Dietrich Bonhoeffer, <i>Widerstand und Ergebung</i>)


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