LINGUIST List 5.340

Tue 22 Mar 1994

Disc: Locatives from temporals

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. "Max Wheeler", Locatives from temporals

Message 1: Locatives from temporals

Date: Wed, 16 Mar 1994 15:00:19 Locatives from temporals
From: "Max Wheeler" <>
Subject: Locatives from temporals

Laurie Bauer asks whether the derivation of French _devant_ `in front of'
(Loc) from _avant_ `before' (Temp) is paralleled by other examples of locative
expressions based on temporal ones.
 However, the presupposition is questionable. Many Romance languages have
adverbs/prepositions deriving from Latin _ante_ (often with prepositional
prefixes) which are used in locative or temporal senses or both, e.g.
Spanish: _antes_ (Temp), _delante_ (Loc)
Catalan: _abans_ (Temp), _davant_ (Loc)
Italian: _innanzi_ (Temp/Loc), _dinanzi_, _davanti_ (Loc)
Romanian: _inaintea_ (Temp/Loc)
Rumantsch: _avant_ (Temp/Loc)
Latin _ante_ was itself both locative and temporal, but its IE cognates, Greek
_anti_, Sanskrit _anti_ appear to have had locative senses (`facing',
`opposite', etc.) but not temporal ones. So the Latin/Romance developments
don't show clear evidence of Temporal > Locative shift. Most plausibly the
temporal sense of _ante_ developed from the locative one in Latin or
Proto-Latin, and derivatives of _ante_ have developed specialized locative or
temporal senses much more recently, if at all, within Romance. Latin _post_
`behind, after' was both locative and temporal.

Still, good examples of Temp > Loc would be interesting to see.

Max Wheeler
School of Cognitive & Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue