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The final stronghold of the infinitive: (Silent) modals in Romanian and southern Italy


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Article

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Abstract

Romanian and the Romance and Greek varieties of the extreme south of Italy show various degrees of diachronic and diatopic microvariation in the loss and retreat of the infinitive, whilst displaying at the same time a high degree of overall structural uniformity in their parallel preservation of the (bare) infinitive in: (1) restructuring contexts; (2) infinitival relatives; and (3) negative imperatives. On the surface, there is nothing a priori to suggest that these three contexts should be connected in any way. Yet the discussion below demonstrates how these three uses can be reduced to a single structural explanation which views the infinitive as a reduced clausal constituent (viz. v-VP) generated in a monoclausal structure selected in all cases by a modal, temporal or aspectual auxiliary which is phonologically overt in (1), but oscillates between overt and covert phonological realizations in (2) and (3) in accordance with crosslinguistic variation. The result is a unified analysis which allows us to capture the distribution of (bare) infinitival complementation in all the relevant varieties quite simply in terms of a so-called restructuring configuration in line with Hill’s (2013a,b, 2017) intuition that the Romanian (and more generally Balkan) bare infinitive instantiates a monoclausal structure selected by a T-related auxiliary.

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Journal Title

Revue Roumaine de Linguistique

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Journal ISSN

0035-3957

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Publisher

Editura Academiei Romane/Publishing House of the Romanian Academy

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2*
2023-10-11 14:41:37
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2022-09-12 23:30:54
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