The generalization of preposition para via fusion and ensuing loss of compositionality

Joseph Bauman, Rena Torres Cacoullos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


This study traces two shifts in the distribution of the Spanish preposition para 'for, in order to': first, a drop in its allative uses and second, its replacement of the older preposition por 'for' with purposive infinitives. These distributional changes of the innovative para-across its own contexts of occurrence as well as in its variation with the older por-demonstrate the crosslinguistic allativeto- purposive grammaticalization path. Frequent co-occurrence of the source elements, por and a, foments their coalescence, reflected in changes in the orthographic/phonological form of the fused preposition as it loses structural analyzability. Semantic compositionality, whereby there was a discernable semantic contribution of the allative a component, is also lost as early prepositional objects designating persons decline. We find this account of the rise of para, based on gradual loss of analyzability and compositionality, to be compatible with the quantitative patterns and more insightful than an opaque and implicitly abrupt notion of reanalysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRomance Linguistics 2013. Selected papers from the 43rd Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), New York, 17�19 April, 2013
EditorsChristina Christina, Marcel Den Dikken, Ignacio L. Montoya, Teresa O'Neill
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789027267689
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameRomance Languages and Linguistic Theory
ISSN (Print)1574-552X

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics


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