Article published in:Usage-Based Approaches to Language Change
Edited by Evie Coussé and Ferdinand von Mengden
[Studies in Functional and Structural Linguistics 69] 2014
► pp. 169–202
Reanalysis and gramma(ticaliza)tion of constructions
The case of the deictic relative construction with perception verbs in French
The purpose of this paper is to study language change as instances of usage-based reanalysis. We intend to show that a specific Romance complementation, namely the deictic relative, found mainly with verbs of perception, acquires the status of construction (i.e. a schematic construction according to the terminology of Croft & Cruse (2004, p. 255)). According to our conception of grammar, this implies a change from an individual, lexically determined structure, into a grammatical construction. We will show that this change from lexical (=A) to grammatical (=B), is a usage-based reanalysis, i.e. a new analysis of received usage due to structural ambiguity, without immediate surface manifestation of a change (see the definition in Andersen 2008, p. 33). This in turn implies that the speaker interprets the content of one expression first as A, then B and possibly C. The diachronic study of the deictic relative with the perception verb voir in French is based on corpus data from different stages of the language. We intend to show that the innovation spreads from oral to written text types, as witnessed from theatre to other genres.
Published online: 10 July 2014
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