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Variation and change in Latin BE-periphrases: empirical and methodological considerations

Abstract : This paper is concerned with the variable distribution of passive and deponent BE-periphrases of the type amatus est (E-periphrases) and amatus fuit (F-periphrases), from ca. 200 BC until 600 AD. Corpus data reveal that the shift from E to F is to a large extent conditioned by the factor ‘Tense’: the rise of F-periphrases is quickest with future perfects, slightly slower with pluperfects, and very slow with plain perfects. I proceed to show that Late Latin E-periphrases exhibit a marked (and unexpected) preference for the ‘head-final’ word order amatus est (rather than ‘head-initial’ est amatus), a tendency which is absent elsewhere. On the basis of this observation I propose that Latin perfective E-periphrases like amatus est are not the historical source of Romance analytic present tense passives like sono amato. At a methodological level, the paper also makes a case for the use of (quantitative) corpus data in Latin linguistics.
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Lieven Danckaert. Variation and change in Latin BE-periphrases: empirical and methodological considerations. Adams, James N.; Vincent, Nigel. Early and Late Latin: continuity or change?, Cambridge University Press, pp.132-162, 2016, Early and Late Latin: continuity or change?, 9781316450826. ⟨10.1017/CBO9781316450826.007⟩. ⟨halshs-01532503⟩

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