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Patterns of variation in existential constructions

The main goal of the present paper is twofold: on the one hand, to highlight the patterns of variation among the existential constructions found in Italo-Romance and Sardinian dialects; on the other, to examine the observed microvariation in a comparative perspective in order to identify common properties and general tendencies. Starting from a description of the variation concerning the primary components of existentials and depending on the copula selected, I show that, irrespective of the superficial morphosyntactic variation attested, all Italo-Romance existential constructions share a fundamental property: their distinguishing features can all be viewed as the reflex of the persistence of formal properties continuing or overlapping with a source construction. This construction is either the locative predication, when be is selected, or the possessive structure, when the existential copula is have. The pivot of the existential construction therefore shows properties typical of arguments, which are however subject to a high degree of instability and variation because it has been semantically reanalysed as the predicate of an abstract contextual domain serving as the argument of the existential proposition. This mismatch between the syntactic and the semantic characteristics of existential structures contributes to the microvariation encountered

Isogloss, vol 1, núm. 1 (2015)

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; Universitat de Girona

Author: Cruschina, Silvio
Date: 2015
Abstract: The main goal of the present paper is twofold: on the one hand, to highlight the patterns of variation among the existential constructions found in Italo-Romance and Sardinian dialects; on the other, to examine the observed microvariation in a comparative perspective in order to identify common properties and general tendencies. Starting from a description of the variation concerning the primary components of existentials and depending on the copula selected, I show that, irrespective of the superficial morphosyntactic variation attested, all Italo-Romance existential constructions share a fundamental property: their distinguishing features can all be viewed as the reflex of the persistence of formal properties continuing or overlapping with a source construction. This construction is either the locative predication, when be is selected, or the possessive structure, when the existential copula is have. The pivot of the existential construction therefore shows properties typical of arguments, which are however subject to a high degree of instability and variation because it has been semantically reanalysed as the predicate of an abstract contextual domain serving as the argument of the existential proposition. This mismatch between the syntactic and the semantic characteristics of existential structures contributes to the microvariation encountered
Format: application/pdf
ISSN: 2385-4138
Document access: http://hdl.handle.net/10256/10130
Language: eng
Publisher: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; Universitat de Girona
Is part of: Isogloss, vol 1, núm. 1 (2015)
Rights: Attribution 3.0 Spain
Rights URI: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/es/
Subject: Llengües romàniques
Romance languages
Lingüística comparada
Comparative linguistics
Llenguatge i llengües -- Variació
Language and languages -- Variation
Lingüística
Linguistics
Title: Patterns of variation in existential constructions
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Repository: DUGiDocs

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