Chapter published in:Space in Diachrony
Edited by Silvia Luraghi, Tatiana Nikitina and Chiara Zanchi
[Studies in Language Companion Series 188] 2017
► pp. 305–328
Source-oriented and Goal-oriented events in Old and Modern French
In the development from Old to Modern French one of the changes involves a morphosyntactic reorganization of the expression of Path of motion. Old French had several micro-systems to express Path including verb prefixes and verb particles. However, their productivity has decreased over the centuries and, as a consequence, the expression of Path in Modern French relies more heavily on verbs. The aim of this chapter is to investigate the effects of this change on the expression of Source-oriented and Goal-oriented events. Based on data extracted from medieval texts and their translations into Modern French, the study shows that the availability of verb prefixes and particles in Old French and their relatively free combinability with verbs of motion allows for a more fine-grained expression of the initial and final component of Path, and a more frequent description of complex Path that includes both Source and Goal-related information. The descriptions of motion in Modern French, on the other hand, put less emphasis on these two parts of Path, leaving, at times, some spatial information to be inferred from the context.
Keywords: Old French, Modern French, Path of motion, typological change, Source/Goal asymmetry
Published online: 14 August 2017
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