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Cause and sub­jec­tivity, a com­pa­rative study of French and Italian

Abstract : In this paper, we propose a contrastive corpus study of French car and parce que and Italian ché and perché, meaning "because". Our goal is to assess the importance of subjectivity in grammaticalization in general, and in the renewal of causal conjunctions in particular. The evolution of these two pairs of conjunctions is quite similar: on the one hand, the most grammaticalized items of each pair, car and ché, are also the most intersubjective; they tend not to change meaning and to fall into disuse. On the other, the less grammaticalized items, parce que and perché, are also the less intersubjective, but gradually change meaning, possibly acquiring (more) inter-subjective uses, and seem to have become the default causal conjunctions in Modern French and Italian -- more clearly so in the spoken than in the formal, written varieties. There thus seems to be a link between the degree of grammaticalization and that of (inter)subjectification.
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Benjamin Fagard, Liesbeth Degand. Cause and sub­jec­tivity, a com­pa­rative study of French and Italian. Lingvisticae Investigationes, Philadelphia; Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2010, XXXIII (2), pp.179-​​194. ⟨10.1075/li.33.2.03fag⟩. ⟨halshs-00637245⟩

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