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Evolution LInguistique et COrpus

Research Program

The project Evolution LInguistique et COrpus (ELICO) focuses on the evolution of determiners in French from the 13th to the 18th century. Language change has attracted much interest in the last fifteen years, as witnessed by the ever growing amount of publications on grammaticalization, lexicalization, pragmaticalization, etc. ELICO tackles this (very general) question specifically in the area of determiners, which form a central category in languages and still exhibit a relatively reduced sensitivity to domain and content, like prepositions and pronouns and unlike verbs, adjectives or nouns, for instance.

ELICO database

The construction of a diachronic database on determiners in French is an essential part of this research project. The database consists of a collection of occurrences of determiners presented in their context. It is these contexts that have been extensively annotated with linguistic information, not the determiners themselves, so that the database can support advanced research based on different theoretical principles and can be used to test linguistic hypotheses. The collection spans over six centuries and contains excerpts from various genres.

more on the page 'Database'

Scientific production

The book 'French Determiners In and Across time'
edited by Lucia M. Tovena

The papers in this volume investigate the semantics of French determiners both from a theoretical and descriptive point of view, covering a time interval that goes from contemporary French back in time to the early centuries of the second millennium and up to Latin. The papers are all informed by the belief that a thorough examination of the evolution of determiners is crucial for understanding the semantic functioning of the systems of determination in human languages. The issues discussed in this volume are central to our understanding of both determiners and, more generally, the interaction between meaning and use across time. They include the role of demonstratives in discourse organisation; the possibility of quantifying over entities and over events; the referential potential of determiners, the type of information they convey and the inferences they trigger; their epistemic and modal status; and the challenges of constituting a database of occurrences of determiners in annotated contexts for synchronic and diachronic studies.

more on the page 'Publications'