This book was first published in 2010. The study of Romance languages can tell us a great deal about sentence structure and its variation in general. Focusing on the dialects of Italy - including the islands of Sardinia and Sicily - the authors explore three thematic areas: the nominal domain, the verbal domain and the left periphery of the clause. The book gives fresh attention to the dialects, arguing that they offer an unprecedented degree of variation (not found, for example, in Germanic languages). Analysing a host of data, the authors show how the dialects can be used as a test-bed for investigating and challenging received ideas about language structure and change. Coherent and wide-ranging, this is a vital resource for those working in syntactic theory, historical linguistics and Romance languages.
• Challenges received wisdom about the structure of languages • Contains a strong contextualising introduction, giving an in-depth review of recent research • A fresh contribution to a relatively poorly understood area of linguistics
Syntactic variation and the dialects of Italy: an overview Roberta D'Alessandro, Adam Ledgeway and Ian Roberts; Part I. Nominal Structures: 1. Headless relatives in some Old Italian varieties Paola Benincà; 2. On Old Italian uomo and the classification of indefinite expressions Verner Egerland; 3. Syncretism and suppletion in clitic systems: underspecification, silent clitics or neither? M. Rita Manzini and Leonardo M. Savoia; 4. Lexicalization of 3rd person object clitics: clitic enclisis and clitic drop Leonardo M. Savoia and M. Rita Manzini; 5. Proclitic vs enclitic pronouns in northern Italian dialects and the null-subject parameter Anna Cardinaletti and Lori Repetti; 6. Domains of clitic placement in finite and non-finite clauses: evidence from a Piedmontese dialect Christina Tortora; Part II. Verbal Structures: 7. Prohibition and Romance: negative imperatives in the early vernaculars of Italy Mair Parry; 8. The periphrasis aviri a + infinitive in contemporary Sicilian dialect Luisa Amenta; 9. A formal typology of person-based auxiliary selection in Italo-Romance Géraldine Legendre; 10. The Abruzzese T-v system: feature spreading and the double auxiliary construction Roberta D'Alessandro and Adam Ledgeway; 11. Perfective auxiliaries in the pluperfect in some southern Italian dialects Michela Cennamo; 12. The logic of Romance past participle agreement Michele Loporcaro; Part III. The Left Periphery: 13. Fronting as focalization in Sicilian Silvio Cruschina; 14. Focus fronting and the left periphery in Sardinian Guido Mensching and Eva-Maria Remberger; 15. In focus: an investigation of information and contrastive constructions Sandra Paoli; 16. Criterial conditions for wh-structures: evidence from wh-exclamatives in northern Italian dialects Nicola Munaro; 17. The distribution of the complementizers /ka/ and /ku/ in the North Salentino dialect of Francavilla Fontana (Brindisi) Paola Vecchio.