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Elisabetta Magni

Professoressa ordinaria

Dipartimento di Lingue, Letterature e Culture Moderne

Settore scientifico disciplinare: L-LIN/01 GLOTTOLOGIA E LINGUISTICA

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Coexisting structures and competing functions in genitive word order

Coexisting structures and competing functions in genitive word order

Elisabetta Magni
University of Bologna
This paper examines the correlations between word order at the clause level and word order at the noun phrase level in languages with no dominant genitive order. In this perspective, the comparison between Latin and English is a revealing domain for investigating both synchronic variation and diachronic evolution. The analysis uses a functional-typological approach; the assumption is that coexisting and competing patterns, as well as regularities and irregularities in word order, can be analyzed through diachrony. Results show that (1) in both languages, structures developing from different sources are assigned different functions according to multiple processing factors; (2) the mechanisms of word order flexibility observed in Latin, mutatis mutandis, can provide some useful insights for English as well.
In: Sleeman, Petra and Harry Perridon (eds.), The Noun Phrase in Romance and Germanic: Structure, variation, and change . 2011. vii, 283 pp. (pp. 223–240)

The Noun Phrase in Romance and Germanic

Structure, variation, and change

Edited by Petra Sleeman and Harry Perridon
University of Amsterdam
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One of the recurrent questions in historical linguistics is to what extent languages can borrow grammar from other languages. It seems for instance hardly likely that each 'average European' language developed a definite article all by itself, without any influence from neighbouring languages. It is, on the other hand, by no means clear what exactly was borrowed, since the way in which definiteness is expressed differs greatly among the various Germanic and Romance languages and dialects. One of the main aims of this volume is to shed some light on the question of what is similar and what is different in the structure of the noun phrase of the various Romance and Germanic languages and dialects, and what causes this similarity or difference.