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From Motion to Desire: The Grammaticalization of a Change of Location Unaccusative Construction in Romanian

  • Adina Dragomirescu ORCID logo EMAIL logo and Alexandru Nicolae ORCID logo
From the journal Probus


This paper documents the steps and analyses the processes by which a concrete change of location unaccusative construction based on a venitive verb grammaticalizes in Romanian as a modal construction exhibiting a variety of desiderative meanings, the most prominent of which is the urge-type of desiderative meaning. This diachronic change is atypical: the venitive verb underwent desemanticization but does not show any detectable morphophonological erosion or decategorialization. Furthermore, the desiderative meaning arises only when the venitive verb is accompanied by a dative clitic (originally, a goal of motion) and a subjunctive CP.

Corresponding author: Adina Dragomirescu, Institutul de Lingvistica Iorgu Iordan-Alexandru Rosetti, Bucure?ti, Rombnia; and Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest, Department of Linguistics, Bucure?ti, Rombnia, E-mail:


This work was supported by two grants of Ministry of Research and Innovation, CNCS - UEFISCDI, project number PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2016-0341, within PNCDI III and project number PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2016-0870, within PNCDI III. We would like to express our gratitude to Adam Ledgeway, Ian Roberts and Alexandra Cornilescu for their observations and suggestions on this paper. Remaining errors are, of course, ours.


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Published Online: 2020-09-24
Published in Print: 2020-11-18

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