Vol 33 No 2 (2014)

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

Dana Niculescu
University of Amsterdam
Published May 23, 2014
  • gerundial periphrasis,
  • non-perfective aspect,
  • aspectualizer,
  • auxiliary.
How to Cite
Niculescu, D. (2014). The evolution of Romanian gerundial periphrases with a sta/a se afla/a umbla. Linguistica Atlantica, 33(2), 87-109. Retrieved from https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/la/article/view/22548


This paper argues that the cross-linguistic distinction between two classes of gerundial periphrases, such as proposedin Laca (2004a), can be extended to Romanian. That is, according to the level at which the finite verb is merged intothe structure, we have one class with the finite verb merged directly in the functional domain, under Aspect; and thesecond class with the finite verb inserted at the lexical level, as the head of the VP, functioning as an eventualitymodifier 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'. Thediachronic analysis proposed in this paper argues that these three aspectualizers undergo different stages ofgrammaticalization, although they do not reach the auxiliary status. The loss of the locative argument and thepossibility of extraction from the gerundial VP are used as arguments that the verbs a sta, a se afla and a umbla haveundergone structural changes when used as aspectualizers