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Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax$
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Eric Mathieu and Robert Truswell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198747840.001.0001

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From Latin to Modern French: A punctuated shift

From Latin to Modern French: A punctuated shift

(p.104) 8 From Latin to Modern French: A punctuated shift
Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax

Michelle Troberg

Heather Burnett

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents data that challenge the prevailing assumption that as Latin evolves into French, it passes gradually from a satellite-framed language to a verb-framed language. In fact, Medieval French presents an unexpected intermediate stage, a grammar that includes a number of satellite-framed constructions that are present neither in Latin nor in Modern French (verb particles, goal-of-motion constructions, complex adjectival resultative constructions). Moreover, there is evidence that these constructions disappear abruptly during the same period. We provide a micro-parametric account for the presence of verb particles and goal-of-motion constructions in Medieval French whereby both are made possible through the presence of a null Path morpheme having the meaning of TO, which arises as early as Late Latin, as the Latin telicizing prefixes become decreasingly salient.

Keywords:   satellite-framed, verb-framed, diachronic, telicity, resultative secondary predication, Latin, French, Medieval French

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