Grammaticalization of a gente as a cluster of changes: evidence from apparent and real time studies

Ana Maria Stahl Zilles


This is a study of the grammaticalization of a gente (‘the people’) in Brazilian Portuguese. This NP is replacing first person pronoun nós. The findings of both apparent and real time studies suggest that two parallel semantic changes are going on, the generic reference change being more advanced than the specific reference change. This is consistent with the concept of grammaticalization as a set of changes. This kind of result is not obtainable by apparent time studies alone, illustrating the importance of convergent use of real and apparent time data. Also the leaders in each change seem to be different, pointing to the importance of investigating the social embedding of these sets of changes.


Grammaticalization of a gente; Set of inter-related changes; Social embedding in grammaticalization.

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Fórum Linguístico, ISSNe 1984-8412, Florianópolis (Santa Catarina), Brasil