From retrospective to prospective: Grammaticalization of future anterior in the languages of Europe.

2018. №2, 53-70

Yana A. Pen’kova
Vinogradov Russian Language Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119019, Russian Federation;


The paper deals with one path of the semantic evolution of future anterior. Following this path, future anterior loses its retrospective function but preserves future time reference. This results in the formation of a new future tense from the old future anterior. Such an evolution took place in the history of some Slavic languages (Slovenian, Polish, Kajkavian dialects). In the Dalmatian language, the original Latin future perfect transformed into the non-anterior future. On the contrary, this tendency has not been completed in the new analytic form in Old French and future anterior in Ancient Greek. The reasons for such semantic evolution of future anterior in the aforementioned languages might be the following. At some stage, future anterior can be used metaphorically as immediate future (attested in Latin, Antient Greek, Old French). Or the implicature in apodosis, namely ‘consequence’ → ‘consecution, posteriority in the future’ → ‘predictive future’, conventionalizes, and future anterior and present neutralize in the conditional protasis (see Latin and some Slavic languages). Nominal properties of the l-participle and the influence of the construction bǫdǫ + passive participle could have also contributed to this kind of semantic evolution in the Slavic languages.