The Use of the Future and Conditional in High Medieval Literature

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In Old French, the leveling of the conjugation paradigms of the Romance Future and Present due to diachronic sound changes resulted in the loss of the synthetic Latin future, which was replaced by periphrases, formed from the infinitive and the present indicative of the verb habere‘to have’: e.g. chanter-ai‘I will sing’. Moreover, a new periphrastic form, the conditional or the form in –roie, was created by the combination of the infinitive and the imperfect indicative of habere‘to have’: e.g. chanter-eie > chanter-oie‘I would sing’. This chapter presents a synchronic sign-oriented analysis of the distribution of the Old French Future and Conditional in medieval texts. The analysis shows that the distribution of both forms was not random, but rather motivated by their invariant meanings. The proposed hypothesis is that the Old French Future meant specific future occurrences, whereas the Old French Conditional meant some question about the realization of future occurrences. Therefore, future occurrenceis postulated as referring to the former and future occurrence questionedas referring to the latter. The analysis shows that both forms consistently appeared not only in individual sentences, but also within entire texts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013

Publication series

NameStudies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory
ISSN (Print)0924-4670
ISSN (Electronic)2215-0358


  • Future Occurrence
  • Linguistic Context
  • Linguistic Form
  • Linguistic Sign
  • Twelfth Century

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics


Dive into the research topics of 'The Use of the Future and Conditional in High Medieval Literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this