School of Modern Languages

Staff Profiles

Laura Pollard

MLitt student in French linguistics.


A blast into the past: the trajectory of the French passé compose

My MLitt dissertation will focus on semantic change in the French passé composé by using data collected from corpora to compare examples from different time periods.  Originally, the passé composé was used to refer to events that had taken place within 24 hours of the utterance, but this meaning has been extended to include events outside of this time frame. 

My research will aim to answer the following questions:
  • How did the passé composé extend its usage from hodiernal past to a temporally unrestricted past?
  • Did this process affect all uses of the passé composé simultaneously, or do some constructions (e.g. negation, questions, indefinite pronouns) lag behind / lead the way?
  • Does the process fit explanations for semantic change / grammaticalization offered in the literature?

Research interests

Language change, semantic change, grammaticalization, subjectification, tense, French

Academic Background

BA (Hons) Newcastle University