We’re pleased to welcome Dr. Chiara Cappellaro, of the Oxford University Research Centre for Romance Linguistics & St John’s College, who will present “Morphological variation in Romance third person pronouns” as part of the Language Variation and Change Workshop this coming Monday (October 27th) at 3 PM. The talk will take place in Pick 022. A full abstract of her talk, which explores both diachronic and synchronic issues, follows below.
“Morphological variation in Romance third person pronouns”
This paper discusses the significant variation in form (and paradigm structure) found in Romance third person pronouns – in both standardised and non-standardised varieties, cfr. Cappellaro (forthcoming).
It investigates the origins of this variation, by exploring the role of (1) language contact, and (2) morphological competition caused by (a) loss of semantic contrast between the two lexemes ILLE and IPSE which compete as ‘etyma’ for third person pronouns, and (b) loss of contrast in diachrony among Latin case forms (nominative, accusative and dative in particular), which, with the gradual disappearance of overt morphological ‘case’, are evacuated of their original function.
It will also discuss two peculiar cases of ‘unresolved’ competition. Firstly, the existence of ‘overabundance’ (i.e. an irregular phenomenon in morphology whereby multiple forms realize the same set of morpho-syntactic features, as in English burned/burnt, cfr. Thornton 2011), in particular, the existence (and persistence over time) of the two synonymous forms ‘ella’ and ‘essa’ ‘she’ in standard Italian.
And secondly, the semantic specialization of the continuants of IPSE and ILLE in a southern Italian dialect, where both the ‘issu’ type (<IPSE) and ‘iddu’ type (<ILLE) are found, showing different degrees of referential ‘accessibility’, in the sense of Ariel 1988, 2008.
Ariel, M. 1988. ‘Referring and accessibility’. Journal of Linguistics 24: 65-87.
— 2008. Pragmatics and Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cappellaro, C. (forthcoming). ‘Tonic pronominal system':
morphophonology’. In Maiden, M. and Ledgeway, A. Oxford Guide to
Romance Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Thornton, A.M. 2011. ‘Overabundance (multiple forms realizing the same
cell): a non-canonical phenomenon in Italian verb morphology’. In
Goldbach, M. et.al. (eds) Morphological Autonomy: Perspectives from
Romance Inflectional Morphology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.