The paper aims at showing how grammaticalization theory applies to Romance languages. In the first part of the paper we give a short overview of the main definitions and principles of the theory. Since grammaticalization phenomena regard all components of language, we distinguish between semantic, syntactic, morphological and phonetic aspects of the process. Furthermore, we also explore the question why this theory has been so successfull of late. Its success raises another question in turn, viz. whether we are dealing with a new 'paradigm' in linguistics, particular in the field of linguistic typology. The second part is devoted to the study of empirical data taken from two different areas, auxiliary verbs on the one hand and prepositional clauses on the other, in three Romance languages, French, Italian and Spanish. We argue, first, with respect to auxiliaries, that an analysis in terms of grammaticalization is to be preferred over other competing analyses such as raising or transparency because the theory allows to account for heterogeneous data. Auxiliary verbs indeed do not constitute a homogeneous class. Second, from a comparative vantage point, it is shown that French displays many more grammaticalization symptoms than Spanish does. Italian seems to occupy an intermediate position, as far as auxiliaries are concerned. With respect to prepositional complements, we only take French and Spanish into account. Once more, we argue that French is much more advanced on the grammaticalization chain than Spanish is and provide evidence for our claim.
Gramaticalización; Conceptos teóricos; Perífrasis verbal; Complemento preposicional; Lenguas románicas
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