References of "Petré, Peter"
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See detailGeneral productivity: How become waxed and wax became a copula
Petré, Peter ULg

in Cognitive Linguistics (2012), 23(1), 28-65

This article provides an analysis — within the framework of Radical Construction Grammar — of how BECOME developed into a copula ‘become’ out of an original sense ‘arrive’, and WAX, originally ‘grow’ ... [more ▼]

This article provides an analysis — within the framework of Radical Construction Grammar — of how BECOME developed into a copula ‘become’ out of an original sense ‘arrive’, and WAX, originally ‘grow’, also came to be used as a copula ‘become’. Importantly, it explains why these verbs successfully became fully productive copulas in a very short period of time. It is argued that this happened after a pre-copular stage had reached a cognitive threshold value. The occurrence of this threshold is related to the fact that the copular constructions featuring BECOME and WAX were not the end result of a single diachronic lineage of constructions (i.e. one construction developed out of another one, one at a time). Instead, the copularization of these verbs was the result of an interaction between lineages of constructions, belonging to two groups: (i) constructions involving BECOME or WAX, which gradually changed and interacted with each other; (ii) constructions involving already existing copulas, notably WEORÐAN ‘become’, which provided a generally productive analog upon which the newly emerging copulas could graft. Generally, the article calls attention to the importance of multiple source constructions and thresholds in understanding grammaticalization processes and productivity. [less ▲]

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See detailOn ways of being on the way: from complex preposition to aspect marker
Petré, Peter ULg; Davidse, Kristin

in International Journal of Corpus Linguistics (2012), 17(2),

This article presents a case study of a set of constructions involving the related way-nouns way, road, track and route, exemplified by (i) on the road to Morocco, (ii) (be) on way to an outstanding ... [more ▼]

This article presents a case study of a set of constructions involving the related way-nouns way, road, track and route, exemplified by (i) on the road to Morocco, (ii) (be) on way to an outstanding English summer with county side Surrey, (iii) (be) on the way to becoming Britain’s No 1 sprinter / on her way to see her boyfriend. These distinct constructions are the synchronically co-existing layers of processes of semantic generalization and grammaticalization, the most important stages of which can be parsed as follows: (i) preposition + complement (way-noun head + of + noun2/postmodifier); (ii) aspectual marker incorporating complex preposition with way-noun + nominal complement; (iii) aspectual marker incorporating complex preposition with way-noun + verbal complement. We will show that the decategorialization approach that has typically been applied to emergent complex prepositions, which are viewed as progressively losing their nominal features such as determiners, makes wrong predictions about degrees of grammaticalization in this case. For this reason, and also to arrive at a more elucidating analysis of the reanalysed layers, we will investigate in what ways their lexicogrammatical features express their constituent functions. We also argue that the emergent layer of aspectual marker + verbal predicate adds complex and fine-grained meanings to the paradigm of English aspectual markers (cf. Diewald 2010), thus enriching the aspectual system. Finally, we show on the basis of the qualitative and quantitative findings of our usage-based study that the variants of the ‘on the way’ expressions display an interesting case of specialization in relation to the four way-nouns. [less ▲]

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See detailThe functions of weorðan and its loss in the past tense in Old and Middle English
Petré, Peter ULg

in English Language and Linguistics (2010), 14(3), 457-484

In this article, I relate the loss of weorðan in the past tense to the loss of an Old English grammatical subsystem that encouraged the expression of narrative by bounded sentence constructions. This type ... [more ▼]

In this article, I relate the loss of weorðan in the past tense to the loss of an Old English grammatical subsystem that encouraged the expression of narrative by bounded sentence constructions. This type of construction represents a situation as reaching its goal or endpoint, and serves to mark progress in a narrative (e.g. then he walked over to the other side). Instead of this system, from Middle English onwards a mixed system emerges with differently structured bounded sentence constructions as well as, increasingly, unbounded sentence constructions – which structure events as open-ended, usually by means of a progressive form (e.g. he was walking). I show how weorðan in Old English was strongly associated with the Old English system of bounded sentence constructions – an association with boundedness is not surprising given its meaning of ‘(sudden) transition into another state’. In the thirteenth century this rigid Old English system started to break down, as primarily evidenced by the disappearance of the time adverbial þa and the loss of verb-second. Wearð, being strongly associated with the old way of structuring narrative, decreased too and eventually disappeared. [less ▲]

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See detailMultiple sources in the copularization of become
Petré, Peter ULg

Conference (2010, September 04)

Multiple sources in the copularization of become This paper shows how general productivity (see Barðdal 2009: 38) of the copular function of the verb become abruptly followed when a pre-copular stage had ... [more ▼]

Multiple sources in the copularization of become This paper shows how general productivity (see Barðdal 2009: 38) of the copular function of the verb become abruptly followed when a pre-copular stage had reached a threshold value about 1150, prior to which become only occurred with a spatial sense ‘arrive’, and with extensions of this sense. It is argued that this abrupt switch to general productivity rather than a gradual increase in productivity results from the fact that copular become is not the end result of a single diachronic lineage of constructions (i.e. a simple grammaticalization process, see Croft 2000: 32-37), but instead resulted from an interaction between lineages, as well as external influence, and from the coming together of all factors involved in the twelfth century. First, certain constructions in which become occurred gradually changed and interacted with each other. In a first stage, two constructions developed (through metaphor) out of become ‘arrive’. These are the constructions in (1), with a human subject and become meaning ‘attain’, and in (2), with an inanimate subject, a dative experiencer and become meaning ‘come upon’. (1) Heo becom to soþum wisdome. ‘She attained to true wisdom.’ (2) Seo þearlwisnis þæs heardan lifes him becwom. ‘The austerity of life came upon him.’ In a second stage a two-participant resultative construction, as in (3), developed as a syntactic blend of (1) and (2) (cf. De Smet 2009: 1747), which provided a formal template for a one-participant prepositional copular construction as in (4). (3) Andetnysse him becumeð to hæle ‘Confession results (for him) in salvation’ (4) Þii fader bi-com to one childe ‘Your father turned into a child.’ Another, unrelated construction provided a formal template for the adjectival copular construction. This is the depictive construction given in (5), in which an adjective serves as a secondary predicate, but become does not have a linking function (is not a copula). (5) He gesund becom to Æðelingege. ‘He arrived (and was) safe at Æðelinge.’ Second, the already existing copula weorðan ‘become’ (see Petré & Cuyckens 2009) provided a template of general productivity upon which the resultative construction could graft once it had become semantically sufficiently similar to a copular construction, and, once the copular stage was reached, the depictive construction also started to serve as a formal input for this analogical process, with as a result adjectival and nominal copular constructions. Finally, Old French probably also contributed (though only as a strengthening factor) to the success of copular become in precisely the twelfth century. From a balanced explanation taking into account all of these factors it is concluded that the sudden emergence of copular becuman is not as catastrophic as it at first seemed. References Barðdal, Jóhanna. 2009. Productivity: Evidence from case and argument structure in Icelandic (Constructional Approaches to Language 8). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Croft, William. 2000. Explaining language change: an evolutionary approach. London: Longman. De Smet, Hendrik. 2009. Analysing reanalysis. Lingua 119: 1728-1755. Petré, Peter & Hubert Cuyckens. 2009. Constructional change in Old and Middle English Copular Constructions and its impact on the lexicon. Folia Lingistuica Historia 30: 311-365. [less ▲]

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See detailThe decline of weorðan in English versus the grammaticalization of werden in German
Petré, Peter ULg

Conference (2010, August 27)

The passive construction consitutes a marked difference between English, which uses the auxiliary be, and German, which uses werden ‘become’. Zieglschmid (1931), however, showed that that originally both ... [more ▼]

The passive construction consitutes a marked difference between English, which uses the auxiliary be, and German, which uses werden ‘become’. Zieglschmid (1931), however, showed that that originally both languages used both verbs. I argue that English lost weorðan (the cognate of werden) when it abandoned the bounded construal of narratives, inherited from Germanic, while German further grammaticalized this system, with the further grammaticalization of werden as a consequence. The original variation is illustrated for Old High German in (2), where sein functions as actional passive auxiliary (next to the frequent occurrence of werden), a choice no longer available in Middle High German (3). Similarly, Old English (4) still has passive weorðan (next to be), but this verb has disappeared from Middle English (5). (1) Latin Ecce aperti sunt ei caeli “See: opened are him:DAT heavens” (Mt. 3.16) (2) Old High German Senu tho aroffonota warun imo himila “See, then opened were him:DAT heavens” (c830) (3) Middle High German Und secht die himel wurden im auf getan “And see the heavens got him:DAT open made” (c1466) (4) Old English & him wurdon þærrihte heofenas ontynede “and him:DAT got immediately heavens opened” (c1025) (5) Middle English and lo! heuenes weren openyd to hym (c1384) I argue that Germanic was a moderately bounded language. Bounded languages construe situations as completed sub-events, emphasizing narrative progress, and make abundant use of time adverbials (Carroll, Stutterheim & Nuese 2004), which split up an event chronologically and often take up the first position in a verb-second system. In German the bounded system became further grammaticalized, for instance through the fixation of the verb-second system. The concomitant grammaticalization of werden is explained by its bounding change-of-state semantics that denotes completed events. In English the bounded system disappears, as can be seen from the heavy decrease of time adverbials of narrative progress (þærrihte ‘immediately’ in (4), but mostly þa ‘then’: Kemenade & Los 2006) and the confusion of verb-second-syntax (Los 2009). Weorðan, being highly entrenched in these constructions, disappears with them. By appealing to the bounded-unbounded distinction, it is thus possible to account for a major difference in the auxiliary system between English and German. References Carroll, Mary, Christiane von Stutterheim & Ralf Nuese. 2004. The language and thought debate: A psycholinguistic approach. In Thomas Pechmann and Christopher Habel (eds.), Multidisciplinary approaches to language production (Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 157), 183-218. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Kemenade, Ans van & Bettelou Los. 2006. Discourse adverbs and clausal syntax in Old and Middle English. In Ans van Kemenade & Bettelou Los (eds.), The Handbook of the History of English, 224–48. Oxford: Blackwell. Los, Bettelou. 2009. The consequences of the loss of verb-second in English: Information structure and syntax in interaction. English Language and Linguistics 13(1), 97-125. Zieglschmid, A. J. Friedrich. 1931. Werdan and wesan with the passive in various Germanic languages. Germanic Review 6(4). 389-396. [less ▲]

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See detailWeorðan ‘become’ and begin as indicators of the unbounded to bounded shift in English
Petré, Peter ULg

Conference (2010, August 25)

In this talk I contrast the developments of the disappearing copula and passive auxiliary (ge)weorðan ‘be(come)’ with the increasingly popular group of inchoative ‘gin-verbs’ (begin(nen), agin(nen), gin ... [more ▼]

In this talk I contrast the developments of the disappearing copula and passive auxiliary (ge)weorðan ‘be(come)’ with the increasingly popular group of inchoative ‘gin-verbs’ (begin(nen), agin(nen), gin(nen), ongin(nen)) during the period 950-1500. The frequency of weorðan (underlined) in Old English is illustrated in (1). This fragment also shows that Old English language use was bounded. Bounded language use construes situations as completed sub-events, emphasizing narrative progress, and makes abundant use of time adverbials (Carroll, Stutterheim & Nuese 2004), which split up an event chronologically and often take up the first position in a verb-second system. (1) Ða he hig hæfde ealle amyrrede þa wearð mycel hunger & he wearð wædla. Þa beþohte he hine & cwæð, Ic fare to minum fæder. & þa gyt þa he wæs feorr his fæder he hyne geseah & wearð mid mildheortnesse astyrod. “When he had everything wasted, then a great hunger arose and he became a beggar. Then he thought by himself and said: ‘I (will) travel to my father.’ And then, when he was still far , his father saw him and was stirred by mercy.” (c1025) The high frequency of weorðan in bounded language use is explained by its change-of-state semantics that denotes completed events. By 1400, however, time adverbials of narrative progress had heavily decreased (for þa: Kemenade & Los 2006) and the verb-second-syntax they trigger had become confused (Los 2009). Weorðan, being highly entrenched in these constructions, disappears as a consequence of their breakdown. Simultaneously, inchoative ginnen-verbs became more frequent. For instance, instead of he wearð wædla ‘he became a beggar’, as in (1), the Wycliffe Bible (c1384) has he began to have need. I argue that these gin-verbs signal the early development of unbounded construal. Unbounded language use construes situations as open-ended. While this is done most clearly through progressive aspect (he was walking), inchoative constructions are also partly open-ended, and provide, for past-tense narrative, a parallel to the progressive (Carroll, von Stutterheim & Nuese 2004: 206). In general, I contribute to the hypothesis that the loss of verb-second syntax (and of time adverbs) affected event construal, and triggered the development of new, unbounded, constructions including the progressive, rather than that the development of the progressive constituted the trigger after which the unbounded system first developed. References Carroll, Mary, Christiane von Stutterheim & Ralf Nuese. 2004. The language and thought debate: A psycholinguistic approach. In Thomas Pechmann and Christopher Habel (eds.), Multidisciplinary approaches to language production (Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 157), 183-218. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Kemenade, Ans van & Bettelou Los. 2006. Discourse adverbs and clausal syntax in Old and Middle English. In Ans van Kemenade & Bettelou Los (eds.), The Handbook of the History of English, 224–48. Oxford: Blackwell. Los, Bettelou. 2009. The consequences of the loss of verb-second in English: Information structure and syntax in interaction. English Language and Linguistics 13(1), 97-125. [less ▲]

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See detailGeneral productivity: how become waxed and wax became a copula
Petré, Peter ULg

Report (2010)

This paper shows how general productivity in the schematic Copular Construction for the verbs become (‘become’, developed from an original sense ‘arrive’) and wax (‘become’, from an original sense ‘grow’ ... [more ▼]

This paper shows how general productivity in the schematic Copular Construction for the verbs become (‘become’, developed from an original sense ‘arrive’) and wax (‘become’, from an original sense ‘grow’) abruptly followed when a pre-copular stage had reached a threshold value. It is argued that the presence of such a threshold itself, or the abrupt switch to general productivity rather than a gradual increase in productivity, results from the fact that the Copular Constructions featuring become and wax are not the end result of a single diachronic lineage of constructions, but that this switch has to be seen as the result of an interaction between lineages of constructions, which belong to two groups: (i) constructions involving a certain lexeme, which gradually change and interact with each other; (ii) constructions involving already existing copulas, notably weorðan ‘become’, which provided a template of general productivity upon which the newly emerging copulas could graft. The paper also contributes to the diachronic research on the largely ignored area of copulas denoting change of state, and in effect provides the first analysis of the development of become, which is surprising given its importance in the English language. [less ▲]

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See detailConstructional change in Old and Middle English Copular Constructions and its impact on the lexicon
Petré, Peter ULg; Cuyckens, Hubert

in Folia Linguistica Historica (2009), 30(1), 311-365

Applying the framework of Radical Construction Grammar to diachronic phenomena, the present paper examines Copular Constructions in Old and Middle English, with special attention to the loss of the Copula ... [more ▼]

Applying the framework of Radical Construction Grammar to diachronic phenomena, the present paper examines Copular Constructions in Old and Middle English, with special attention to the loss of the Copula weorðan ‘become’. First we reconstruct the extension of the OE Verbs is, beon, weorðan and becuman to various types of Copular Constructions. We further argue that schematic Copular Constructions emerge in overlapping usage areas resulting from these developments, in which abstraction is made of the Copulas' particular aspectual semantics. These schematic Copular Constructions in turn undergo some changes themselves. In Middle English a Passive Construction developed out of an original Copula Construction involving Adjectival Participles. However, the constructional profile of weorðan comprised an association between Participial and Adjectival Subject Complements much stronger than in other copulas, and this conflicted with this development, with the archaisization of weorðan as a result. This process of archaisization was further strengthened by the takeover of Weak Verbs in -ian (type ealdian ‘become old’) by new copulas like becuman. In general, we show how diachronic construction grammar might account for the loss of a function word otherwise difficult to account for. [less ▲]

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See detailLeuven English Old to New (LEON): Some ideas on a new corpus for longitudinal diachronic studies.
Petré, Peter ULg

Conference (2009, July 09)

Despite the explosion of diachronic corpora of English in the last few decades, still not a single corpus exists that covers the entire documented history of English. Although its compilation is generally ... [more ▼]

Despite the explosion of diachronic corpora of English in the last few decades, still not a single corpus exists that covers the entire documented history of English. Although its compilation is generally perceived as most attractive (Rissanen 2000: 13), corpus compilers do not seem to believe in its creation in the near future. This is regrettable, as many linguists dealing with longitudinal developments such as grammaticalization need to cover very long time spans, and are forced to combine several, not necessarily compatible, corpora (e.g. Hilpert 2008, van Linden 2009). Clearly, their results are less reliable than they might be if a single corpus existed (for example, Gries and Hilpert’s data (2008) show a major shift in the collocational profile of shall about 1710; however, this is precisely where one corpus they use ends and a second – rather different one – begins). So I tentatively started compiling a corpus myself, provisionally called LEON (Leuven English Old to New). The basic architecture of LEON comprises a 400,000 word corpus for each HC-period, and after 1710 for the periods 1710-1780, 1780-1850, 1850-1920, 1920-1990 and post-1990. Data available from 1250-1350, a less well represented period, serve as a template on which other subperiods are to be based to acquire best comparability of genre and region. To make up for the lack of some genres (letters, diaries) and social stratification, for each period after 1350 an additional, selfsufficient 600,000 words corpus is envisaged. While LEON is primarily conceived as a ‘meta-corpus’, mining existing corpora, some additions are envisaged too (e.g. the unedited Statutes Rwl. B.520, dated a1325). LEON does not aim at full comparability (which would be presumptuous), but wants to optimize the usefulness of concepts like ‘equal size of subperiods’ or ‘diachronic text prototype’ (HC). LEON might be, as compared to the present ‘big evil’, a ‘lesser evil’. References Gries, Stefan Th. and Martin Hilpert. The identification of stages in diachronic data: variability-based neighbour clustering. Corpora Vol. 3 (1): 59–81. Hilpert, Martin. 2008. Germanic future constructions A usage-based approach to language change. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Los, Bettelou. 2005. The rise of the to-infinitive. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Rissanen, Matti & Merja Kytö. 1993. General introduction. In Rissanen, Matti, Merja Kytö & Minna Palander-Collin, eds. 1993. Early English in the computer age: Explorations through the Helsinki Corpus. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 1-17. Rissanen, Matti. 2000. The world of English historical corpora: From Cædmon to computer age. Journal of English Linguistics 28: 7-20. van Linden, An. 2009. Dynamic, deontic and evaluative adjectives and their clausal complement patterns: A synchronic-diachronic account. PhD dissertation, University of Leuven. [less ▲]

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See detail(Inter)subjectification in the Middle English Passive construction
Petré, Peter ULg

Conference (2008)

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See detailOn bottle-necks in grammaticalization: the case of become
Petré, Peter ULg

Conference (2008)

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See detailBedusted, yet not beheaded: The role of be-’s constructional properties in its conservation
Petré, Peter ULg; Cuyckens, Hubert

in Bergs, Alexander; Diewald, Gabriele (Eds.) Constructions and Language Change: Selected papers from the Workshop on Constructions and Language Change, XVII International Conference on Historical Linguistics (2008)

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See detailThe Old English copula weorðan and its replacement in Middle English
Petré, Peter ULg; Cuyckens, Hubert

in Gotti, Maurizio; Dossena, Marina; Dury, Richard (Eds.) English historical linguistics 2006. Volume I Historical syntax and morphology. Selected papers from the fourteenth International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL 14), Bergamo, 21-25 August 2006 (2008)

With the aid of a specially compiled corpus, this paper accounts for the replacement – mainly by become – of weorðan ‘become’, whose use rapidly decreased in Middle English. Drawing on Goldbergian ... [more ▼]

With the aid of a specially compiled corpus, this paper accounts for the replacement – mainly by become – of weorðan ‘become’, whose use rapidly decreased in Middle English. Drawing on Goldbergian construction grammar, the paper posits the existence of a lexeme-independent network of copular constructions [Copula + np/ap/…]. Copular uses of weorðan are associated with this network, but also form part of a second network exclusive to weorðan, which, already in Old English, served as a model for the extension of becuman to copular uses. In early Middle English, weorðan reacted to changes in the lexeme-independent copular network. Weorðan was no longer used with adjectival participles when these were constructionally separated from its most frequent collocates, namely human propensity adjectives. Furthermore, reacting to an influx of various adjectives in predicate position, becuman, which had no collocational preferences, extended its use to these adjectives and eventually took over from weorðan completely. [less ▲]

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See detailReview of A. Goldberg (2005) Constructions at work. The nature of generalization in language (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Petré, Peter ULg

in The LINGUIST List (2007), 17

The main goal of Goldberg's new book 'Constructions at work' is the establishment of a psychologically and cross-linguistically realistic model of our knowledge of language within the framework of ... [more ▼]

The main goal of Goldberg's new book 'Constructions at work' is the establishment of a psychologically and cross-linguistically realistic model of our knowledge of language within the framework of construction grammar (CxG; see Goldberg 1995, Croft 2001). The main claim is that our language system consists of a series of generalizations, which are CONSTRUCTED on the basis of input similarities and general cognitive mechanisms. [less ▲]

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See detailHow become waxed and wax became a copula
Petré, Peter ULg

Conference (2007)

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See detailAspects of the emergence and diffusion of the for...to-infinitive
Petré, Peter ULg; Cuyckens, Hubert

Conference (2006)

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