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DE: a genitive marker in French? Its grammaticalization path from Latin to French

Book Contribution - Chapter

The paper deals with the evolution of the genitive case from Latin to Old and Middle French, and from there to Modern French. The loss of morphological case inflection in French raises the question whether the category of the genitive is still a relevant notion. The authors claim it is, by showing that the prepositional phrase de + NP, which gradually spread from Latin to Modern French, fundamentally marks the dependency of a nominal constituent with respect to another nominal expression, just like the adnominal genitive did in Latin. They show that the preposition de underwent a pervasive grammaticalization process from a full-fledged preposition introducing adjuncts expressing spatial origin to a structural marker of arguments of verbal and (especially) nominal heads.
Book: The genitive
Pages: 141 - 216
ISBN:978 90 272 2815 4
Publication year:2013