«Voler» + infinitive in Catalan: From the imminence aspectual periphrasis to the epistemic and evidential marker (from the 13th century to the present day)

Jordi M. Antolí Martínez


Today’s Catalan knows the phrases vol ploure and vol caure, literally ‘[it] wants to rain’ and ‘[it] wants to fall,’ with the meaning of ‘showing signs that [something] has to [happen]’ (DDLC, s.v. voler). Such structures are only a remainder from the imminence aspectual periphrasis voler + infinitive, present in old and modern Catalan, as well as in other Romance languages, at least in medieval times (such as Occitan, Franco-Provençal, French or Italian). Our aim in this study is trying to describe and explain the constructionalization process (following Traugott 2012 and Traugott & Trousdale 2013) whereby this structure, saturated with the infinitives ploure or caure, will assume an epistemic/evidential value ever since the Modern Era (17th and 18th centuries) which is the one known by the current language. From Classical Latin and up to present-day Catalan, the periphrasis will thus describe a trend Wish > Intention > Imminence > Epistemicity/Evidentiality.


Old and Modern Catalan; evidenciality; invited inferencing; voler + infinitive; imminence periphrasis

Full Text:

Copyright (c) 2015 Jordi Antolí