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Dialectologia et Geolinguistica

Journal of the International Society for Dialectology and Geolinguistics

Ed. by van Nahl, Astrid

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On the Emergence of the Progressive and other Aspectual Formations in Irish and Celtic

Ailbhe Ó Corráin
  • Institute for Irish and Celtic Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Ulster, Derry BT48 7JL, N. Ireland.
  • Other articles by this author:
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Published Online: 2009-03-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/DIG.2008.001


This paper examines the evolution of aspectual formations in Insular Celtic. It is argued that the emergence of these formations and their unusual morphosyntactic structure have been determined by internal systemic factors. It is also suggested that the manner in which these formations developed is of importance for our understanding of the processes involved in the emergence of grammatical subsystems in general. It is demonstrated that the Celtic aspectual system evolves in a manner reminiscent of the concept of developmental stratification and, significantly, that it evolves in a remarkably coherent and ordered fashion. The inexorable and structured nature of this evolution would seem to provide evidence for the claim that there may exist within languages a certain teleological impulse; in other words, that rather than being simply random, language change is in some fundamental and meaningful sense goal-directed.

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Published Online: 2009-03-19

Published in Print: 2008-11-01

Citation Information: Dialectologia et Geolinguistica, Volume 2008, Issue 16, Pages 3–26, ISSN (Online) 1867-0903, ISSN (Print) 0942-4040, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/DIG.2008.001.

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