The Grammaticalization of Catalan anar (‘to go’) + Infinitive for the Expression of Perfective Past: A Diachronic, Corpus-Based Perspective

  • Marc Gandarillas Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, University of Florida, United States
Keywords: corpus linguistics, grammaticalization, language change, pragmaticalization, morphophonology, Romance languages


This study constitutes an exploratory analysis of the grammaticalization cline of anar (‘to go’) + infinitive in Catalan to express perfective past (e.g., va arribar ‘s/he arrived’). Our research interest primarily lies in diachronically tracing the evolution of this grammatical change, which appears to be unprecedented in other Romance languages (e.g., Spanish, French), in which the construction has instead led to the expression of a near and/or intentional future. A gap in research is found in the fact that there have been few corpus-based, pragmatic approaches to the matter. We base our theoretical framework on the definition of grammaticalization by Hopper and Traugott (2003) and a number of related publications (Alturo 2017, Pérez-Saldanya & Hualde 2003). Critical items (N=346) were retrieved from the diachronic corpus CICA (11th-18th c.) and subsequently analyzed in the light of pragmatic factors, establishing a three-stage cline based on Segura (2012). Results show how informative bridging contexts are in shaping grammaticalization processes, as they highlight the challenges of tracing a grammaticalization process based on corpora of literary texts. A discussion follows on the identification of potential next steps that might be useful in complementing our own research.


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Percentages of 3rd person anar + infinitive in the CICA corpus according to the three degrees of grammaticalization (i.e., grammaticalized (G), bridging context (BC), and non-grammaticalized (NG))