Edited by Benjamin Fagard, José Pinto De Lima and Dejan Stosic
[Revue Romane 54:1] 2019
► pp. 93–125
Complex spatial prepositions from Latin to Castilian
From among the various processes that form prepositions in the history from Latin to Castilian, the investigation concentrates on the formation of prepositional adverbs like Spanish delante (de) ‘in front (of)’. There are two mechanisms for their formation: (a) An adverb or a preposition is preceded by a superordinate simple local preposition which initially specifies a local relation, but ends up as a reinforcing expansion of its base; and (b) an adverb is converted into a preposition by a following functional preposition which serves as a relationalizer.
In case #a, the syntactic structure is often destroyed by univerbation, and the resulting reinforced preposition is lexicalized. In case #b, the alternation between adverb and relationalized preposition is regular and bidirectional, so that the combination of adverb and relationalizer is normally not univerbated. The exception desde is given some attention.
As a result, the formation of prepositions of this structure is, at the outset, not a matter of word formation, and such complex prepositions are therefore not compound prepositions, but instead lexicalized univerbations.