Article published in:Romance Linguistics 2013: Selected papers from the 43rd Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), New York, 17-19 April, 2013
Edited by Christina Tortora, Marcel den Dikken, Ignacio L. Montoya and Teresa O'Neill
[Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 9] 2016
► pp. 39–58
The generalization of preposition para via fusion and ensuing loss of compositionality
This study traces two shifts in the distribution of the Spanish preposition para ‘for, in order to’: first, a drop in its allative uses and second, its replacement of the older preposition por ‘for’ with purposive infinitives. These distributional changes of the innovative para—across its own contexts of occurrence as well as in its variation with the older por—demonstrate the crosslinguistic allative-to-purposive grammaticalization path. Frequent co-occurrence of the source elements, por and a, foments their coalescence, reflected in changes in the orthographic/phonological form of the fused preposition as it loses structural analyzability. Semantic compositionality, whereby there was a discernable semantic contribution of the allative a component, is also lost as early prepositional objects designating persons decline. We find this account of the rise of para, based on gradual loss of analyzability and compositionality, to be more compatible with the quantitative patterns and insightful than an opaque and implicitly abrupt notion of reanalysis.
Published online: 03 February 2016
Cited by 2 other publications
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Corpus of texts (in chronological order, except for DLNE)
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