An analysis of progressive aspect in French and Dutch in terms of Variation and Specialization
This paper tackles the concepts of ‘Variation’ and ‘Specialization’, frequently used in grammaticalization theory, within the context of progressive aspectual periphrases and from a comparative perspective French-Dutch. Drawing on historical and contemporary data, it is shown that these periphrases (i) have a disambiguating function, (ii) vary as to the level of Specialization operating on them, and (iii) manifest a relatively high level of formal fusion and semantic uniformity, due to processes of ‘metaphorization’, ‘reanalysis’ and ‘desemanticization’. The synergy between ‘Variation’ and ‘Specialization’ as proposed in this analysis allows for a comprehensive account of linguistic phenomena which are subject to (especially incipient) grammaticalization.
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