“Diacronia” bibliometric database (BDD)

Overt Expletives in Ibero-Romance: A Diachronic and Diatopic Perspective

Publication: Revue roumaine de linguistique, LX (2-3), p. 205-222
Variation syntaxique / Syntactic Variation
Edited by Jenneke van der Wal, Adina Dragomirescu and Alexandru Nicolae
Publisher:Editura Academiei
Abstract:This paper examines the present-day characterisation and historical development of non-referential uses of the pronoun ello/ele/ell (ELLO) in certain Ibero- Romance varieties. Since overt expletives are predicted to be incompatible with referential null subjects, the appearance of ELLO in an apparently expletive position and function is typologically anomalous with respect to the null subject parameter as traditionally conceived. Recent treatment in the literature places ELLO in the C-domain, and exceptionally in SpecTP. However, existing accounts tend to assume a unified characterisation across varieties for what we claim is actually a heterogeneous phenomenon. Novel empirical data show that ELLO displays both expletive-like and discourse-oriented properties even within the same variety, targeting different structural positions cross-dialectally. Today’s variation is argued to be an effect of ELLO reaching different stages of grammaticalisation across varieties, originating from its usage in impersonal epistemic contexts. We may therefore wish to revise our typology of expletives so as to encompass a more nuanced range of parametric values.
Key words:overt expletives, syntax-pragmatics interface, null subject parameter, dialect syntax, pragmaticisation, Ibero-Romance varieties
Language: English

Citations to this publication: 1

References in this publication: 1

53Paul J. Hopper, Elizabeth Closs TraugottGrammaticalizationCambridge University Press1993; 2003

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