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Verbul a domni: de la tranzitiv la intranzitiv

Publication: Studii și cercetări lingvistice, LXII (1), p. 19-30
Publisher:Editura Academiei
Abstract:Verbs in Romanian are broadly either transitive or intransitive. Some verbs however have both transitive and intransitive uses. Some verbs show free variation, and they can be built either with a direct object or with an adjunct (expressed by means of a prepositional phrase), with no changes semantically speaking. A special case in the evolution of the transitivity pattern is the verb a domni ‘to reign’. Typologically, it is an intransitive verb, subcategorising a (prepositional) adjunct or a prepositional object. Things have not been always this way, the complement type subcategorised by this verb showing variation both diachronically and stylistically.
Our research on this phenomenon has as starting point the grammatical information extracted from the two fundamental dictionaries of the Romanian language: DEX and DLR. The Explanatory Dictionary of the Romanian Language (DEX), as a synchronic dictionary, reflects the current status of linguistic phenomena. The Dictionary of the Romanian Language (DLR), as a diachronic dictionary, presents in evolution the lexical-grammatical facts. Thus, going through the definitions provided by both dictionaries, we have noticed that in DEX the verb a domni ‘to reign’ occurs only with its intransitive value, whereas in DLR it has both transitive and intransitive occurrences. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that the first attested occurrences of the verb a domni ‘to reign’ were transitive. The transition of the verb a domni ‘to reign’ from transitive to intransitive was a gradual process, with an absolute transitive use as intermediate stages. Thus, the (subsequent) attachment to this structure of an adverbial of place led to the change from the absolute transitive to intransitive. Another step in the evolution of the subcategorisation frame of this lexeme is the selection of the prepositions peste ‘over’/ asupra ‘on’/ spre ‘towards’ (from the prepositional object construction), instead of the preposition p(r)e (as a direct object marker, specific for certain types of direct objects in Romanian). The verb lost its transitive value also conditioned by narrowing the use of the primary meaning (where this feature was prevalent), once such realities as domn ‘lord, ruler’, domnitor ‘lord, ruler’, domnie ‘reign’ have ceased to exist.
The change in the subcategorisation frame of this verb, which automatically involves the selection of different complements have taken place both within the primary meaning and the development process of the subsequent meanings (meanings developed based on the semantic derivation or on figuratively connotative mutations). We also emphasise that, according to the expressed meaning, this verb may select other kinds of adjuncts. Thus, the primary meaning of the verb is characterised mainly by subcategorising arguments specific to transitive verbs, while the meanings derived from the primary one (with special emphasis on figurate meanings) make room gradually for its intransitive use, ending up (for current uses) in total loss of its transitivity. Therefore, the facts described here entitle us to assert that in Romanian the verb a domni ‘to reign’ is a specific case in the dynamics of the transitivity.
Language: Romanian

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