Grammaticalisation: Le cas des prépositions locatives
  • ISSN 0378-4169
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9927
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SummaryThe aim of this paper is to refute prepositional polysemy, from an epistemological point of view. The analysis is based on the study of the Latin preposition ex (with ablative case), whose examples are taken from Latin botanical works of the Renaissance, for this corpus provides evidence for two statements of the polysemic approach. The first presents ex as a preposition of movement, with spatial and notional, dynamic and static uses. The second states that, at the time of the Renaissance, ex develops new meanings, since it is used in a new way, either with an anthroponym, or with a colour name. My analysis is based on linguistic and epistemic analyses, that is, considering the épistémè or ‘configuration of scientific knowledge peculiar to a specific time’ (M. Foucault). It appears that the distinctions postulated by the polysemic approach between spatial and notional, dynamic and static, provenance and extraction, are not relevant to the analysis of the meaning of ex, for they just belong to the context (verb, nominal complement). Thus, we can conclude that the ‘new’ uses distinguished by the polysemic tradition are just an application, to specific contexts, of the single semantic structure of the preposition ex and that there is no need to postulate various meanings.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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