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  • Author or Editor: Geert Booij x
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This paper investigates the grammaticalization of words into prefixes, via the intermediate stage of separable particles. Particle-verb combinations are analysed as constructional idioms, whereas prefixed verbs are analysed as words. We hypothesize that semantic change triggers the structural change of particles becoming inseparable prefixes. In this way, syntax reflects semantics: the loss of independent semantic content, accompanied by other specific semantic developments, triggers the loss of syntactic independence. Data from Middle and Modern Dutch are discussed to illustrate the validity of the hypothesis and to show that semantic changes indeed precede syntactic changes in the development of particles into prefixes.

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