Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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This paper examines the synchronic competition and diachronic substitution of three Latin temporal expressions: (‘at that time’, ‘then’), and later (originally, ‘while-and’), and its Old Italian outcome (‘then’). Besides providing a new path of development and a new etymology for Italian , we describe in detail the steps by which these forms gradually replaced one another and examine the factors at play in their renewal, showing that such forms all display a similar inference-driven functional expansion from propositional to discourse-organizational meanings. However, their subsequent development led to a functional similarity that is only partial, as is often the case in semantic–pragmatic cycles. While discussing the nature of this cycle, we focus on the speaker’s role in this type of change, which in our view can be summarized in the speaker’s cyclical application of recurrent functional principles: phonetic efficiency, analogy, and regularity in semantic change.


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