A diachronic analysis of visiblement/visiblemente: contemporary false-friends

  • Sonia Gómez-Jordana


The aim of this paper is to establish how the French adverb visiblement has evolved, and to find the most accurate translations of this adverb in Spanish. Dictionaries tend to give literal translations, whereby visiblement is translated as visiblemente. A diachronic analysis of this adverb will enable us to see whether they are indeed false-friends. In Old French and in Pre-classical French, it was used as a clause element adverb, before being used as a disjunct adverb from the 17th century onwards. Eventually, it goes on to appear by itself, or, accompanying an affirmative, like oui, in the 20th century. We will demonstrate that the adverb undergoes a process of pragmaticalisation as described by Dostie (2004), with the adverb becoming more subjective, going from a literal sense, to a disjunct or pragmatic adverb. Nevertheless, in Spanish, since Old Spanish until nowadays, there are almost no examples other than its use as a clause element adverb. That’s the reason why we cannot propose a literal translation of the adverb.
Gómez-Jordana, S. (2018). A diachronic analysis of visiblement/visiblemente: contemporary false-friends. Linguistik Online, 92(5). https://doi.org/10.13092/lo.92.4504