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De ante à devant et avant : différenciation sémantique dans l’évolution des langues romanes

Abstract : In this paper, I propose a reflection on semantic evolution and polysemy, with a case study of the prepositional outcomes of Latin ante in Romance languages. I show how complex the resulting paradigms are in each language, with many forms having overlapping uses as adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions. More specifically, I try to determine to which degree the appearance of new forms can be explained by the need to disambiguate. In order to do this, I study more than fifteen forms with the help of medieval and modern corpora, in four languages (French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese). A semantic analysis in two steps, on more than four thousand prepositional occurrences in total, enables me to bring to light differences between these language systems, and to show that the mechanism at work is not so much disambiguation as a constant semantic drift from spatial to temporal and/or notional.
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Benjamin Fagard. De ante à devant et avant : différenciation sémantique dans l’évolution des langues romanes. Langages, Armand Colin (Larousse jusqu'en 2003), 2012, 188 (4), pp.111-131. ⟨halshs-01241417⟩



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