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Auteur: Isabel OLTRA-MASSUET

Catalan auxiliary go-past: A synchronic analysis

Abstract/Résumé: The Catalan standard past perfective (1) contains an inflected form historically derived from the present tense of the verb go and the infinitive of the corresponding verb. (1) vas cantar ‘sang’ (lit. AUX.2sg sing.INF) Previous accounts are essentially diachronic, mainly hypothesizing about the origin, factors involved, and grammaticalization path from a lexical verb go to a desemanticized past auxiliary (e.g. Colón 1976, Vallduví 1988, Pérez Saldanya 1996, 1998, Juge 2006, Jacobs 2011 a.o.). However, these data give rise to a number of previously unexplored empirical as well as theoretical questions regarding (i) the synchronic (partial) syncretism between the auxiliary of the analytic forms and the present tense indicative of the irregular lexical verb anar ‘go’ in (2), which brings up the issue of (ii) the status, representation, and morphophonological realization of roots that seem to compete for insertion into functional morphemes. These data raise further questions concerning suppletion, specifically (iii) the contrast between the allomorphic variation in the 1/2pl present indicative and (iv) the paradigm leveling in the past auxiliary. (2) Present Indicative go versus Auxiliary go-past a. PresInd anar ‘go’ {vaig, vas, va, anem, aneu, van} +infinitive b. Standard PastPerf {vaig, vas, va, vam, vau, van} +infinitive I develop a synchronic analysis of these data within the Distributed Morphology framework (e.g. Halle and Marantz 1993; Marantz 1995, 1997; Embick and Marantz 2008; Embick 2010, a.o.) that relates to the main hypothesis about the diachronic path from lexical verb anar ‘go’ to auxiliary va- put forward in Pérez Saldanya (1996, 1998) where the realization of va- as a kind of auxiliary support at the level of Tense, and an infinitive realizing a telicity-related temporal/aspectual head is in accordance with the final stage suggested in Pérez Saldanya’s account of the historical path from a lexical verb anar ‘go’ to a tense marker through an intermediate stage as an aspectual marker. My proposal is mainly based on a single functional morpheme MOTION that shows two phonological exponents, v(a)- and an-, so that all instances of va- in (2) derive from an abstract functional morpheme MOTION, which rules out the possibility of a chance homophony (cf. Pomino & Remberger 2008). I further discuss the suppletion facts in relation to the markedness puzzle that arises from the fact that the an- allomorph has a wider distribution in the verbal paradigm, which makes it appear as the unmarked member, even though auxiliary leveling suggests that the va- allomorph is less marked (cf. Veselinova 2006, Maiden 1992, 2004).