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Paths of grammaticalization of Early Latin per/per-: A cognitive hypothesis


The paper describes the semantic network of the Early Latin preverb per- and its relation with the corresponding preposition per ‘through’. Making use of the Cognitive Grammar framework, we argue that the basic spatial semantics of both preverb and preposition (here called the “PER relation”) can account for the whole set of concrete and abstract meanings per and per- express. In spite of this common semantic nucleus, however, per- and per differ as to the mechanisms at work in the development and organization of their semantic continua, thus imposing a differentiated analysis at the semantic as well as the morphosyntactic level. In this respect, the notions of grammaticalization and lexicalization seem to constitute the most adequate analytical tools to describe the different development of preposition and preverb.