The evolution of Romanian gerundial periphrases with a sta/a se afla/a umbla

Dana Niculescu


This paper argues that the cross-linguistic distinction between two classes of gerundial periphrases, such as proposed
in Laca (2004a), can be extended to Romanian. That is, according to the level at which the finite verb is merged into
the structure, we have one class with the finite verb merged directly in the functional domain, under Aspect; and the
second class with the finite verb inserted at the lexical level, as the head of the VP, functioning as an eventuality
modifier for the gerund. The first class is represented by structures with the auxiliary a fi 'to be' the second class,
by configurations with the aspectualizers a sta 'to stay' a se afla 'to be situated' and a umbla 'to walk'. The
diachronic analysis proposed in this paper argues that these three aspectualizers undergo different stages of
grammaticalization, although they do not reach the auxiliary status. The loss of the locative argument and the
possibility of extraction from the gerundial VP are used as arguments that the verbs a sta, a se afla and a umbla have
undergone structural changes when used as aspectualizers


gerundial periphrasis, non-perfective aspect, aspectualizer, auxiliary.

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