Modal verbs, future and grammaticalization in Old Catalan. A cognitive approach

Andreu Sentí


The process of grammaticalization of Catalan modal verbs deure, haver and tenir involves a semantic change, a rise of new meanings and an increase in their semantic network. On the one hand, deontic modal verbs develop inferential evidential meanings, and, on the other, future meanings (posteriority).

This corpus-based study focuses on the rise of future meanings of modal verb deure (‘must’) (between the 12th and the 16th centuries). We have been able to analyse the process of grammaticalization with absolute reliability thanks to the applied technology of the Corpus of Old Catalan (CICA and CIGCA), in which linguistic variation is quite representative. This study takes a cognitive perspective (Langacker 1987, 1991, 1999, 2006; Pelyvás 2000, 2006) that provides us with the tools to set up a semantic network and the paths of semantic change.


modality; future; semantic change; Cognitive Grammar; grammaticalization; subjectification; conceptual schema

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