Grammaticalisation: Le cas des prépositions locatives
  • ISSN 0378-4169
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9927
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SummaryThe aim of this article is to study the relationship between certain adverbs, prepositions, prefixes and conjunctions of subordination in French. A distinction is made between two classes of morphemes. The first one includes prefixes and ‘governed’ prepositions (which introduce arguments of the verb, such as the indirect object) : both types of expressions can be said to be ‘linked’, the first to the prefixed element, the second to the verb. The second one includes ‘not-governed’ prepositions (those which introduce adverbial phrases), certain adverbs and conjunctions of subordination ; these morphemes are not linked in the sense mentioned above and can thus said to be ‘free’. This distinction could suggest a grammaticalization channel leading from the free elements to the linked ones : from the adverbs via the related non governed and governed prepositions, in that order, to the prefixes. It is shown, however, that some Latin adverbs grammaticalize directly into preverbs, without an intervening prepositional stage, and that some prepositions directly inherit ‘governed’ as well as ‘not-governed’ uses from their Latin predecessors. Nevertheless, the hypothesis that there is a relation between the governed or non governed nature of some prepositions and the possibility to use them in order to create conjunctions of subordination, could explain why avant que and après que are still used as such conjunctions, whereas sur ce que / sour ce que has disappeared.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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