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Greek Disguised as Romance? The Case of Southern Italy

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Ledgeway, AN 


One of the best-known cases of language contact within Romance concerns the influence of Greek on the Romance dialects of southern Italy. Here I reconsider the traditional claim that these dialects are essentially Greek disguised as Romance. In particular, I shall draw on recent theories about parameter hierarchies and parametric change in terms of four discrete classes of parameter, namely macro-, meso-, micro- and nanoparameters, to show how such an approach is able to both model and formalize the degree of morphosyntactic convergence and divergence exhibited between Italo-Greek and southern Italo-Romance. While recognizing the essential correctness of Rohlfs’ original slogan spirito greco, materia romanza, this novel approach to an old question will afford us a more nuanced and refined interpretation of the precise nature and extent of Greek-Romance structural contact in this area of southern Italy.



Journal Title

Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Greek Dialects and Linguistic Theory

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5th International Conference on Greek Dialects and Linguistic Theory

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University of Patras