Edited by Anna Čermáková, Thomas Egan, Hilde Hasselgård and Sylvi Rørvik
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 101] 2021
► pp. 181–200
English now and then and French maintenant and alors all exemplify the cross-linguistic tendency for temporal adverbs to grammaticalize into markers of rhetorical relations. This paper analyses the polysemy of these adverbs in a comparable corpus of written-to-be-spoken speeches and unscripted spoken interviews. For now and maintenant, while the discourse patterns and the direction of change are remarkably similar, French and English seem to be at different points in the grammaticalization cycle, with maintenant being less grammaticalized than now. In the case of alors and then, it is the French lexeme that appears to be more bleached, occurring in a wider range of rhetorical contexts and in different discourse patterns from English then.