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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton March 4, 2011

Historical and comparative perspectives on subjectification: A corpus-based analysis of Dutch and French causal connectives

  • Jacqueline Evers-Vermeul , Liesbeth Degand , Benjamin Fagard and Liesbeth Mortier
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In this article, we focus on the diachronic development of causal connectives and investigate whether subjectification occurs. We present the results of ongoing and previous corpus-based analyses of the diachronic development of Dutch want and omdat, and French car and parce que, all four causal connectives roughly meaning ‘because’. In addition, we try to show that “grammaticalization studies can gain from the systematic and principled use of large computerized corpora and the methods which have been developed within corpus linguistics” (Lindquist and Mair, Corpus approaches to grammaticalization in English, John Benjamins, 2004: x). That's why we have combined two historical and two comparative corpus methods to chart the diachronic development of these four causals. Our study reveals that subjectification is not an integral part of the diachronic development of these causals: subjectification does occur in the rise of these connectives, but in the later stages of their development only parce que undergoes subjectification. Our analyses show that the four methods all have their own merits and limitations, but they are most effective when combined.

Correspondence address: Jacqueline Evers-Vermeul, Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, Utrecht University, Trans 10, NL-3512 JK Utrecht, The Netherlands. E-mail: .

Received: 2009-04-03
Revised: 2010-03-19
Published Online: 2011-03-04
Published in Print: 2011-March

© 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/New York

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