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Cycles in Language Change$
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Miriam Bouzouita, Anne Breitbarth, Lieven Danckaert, and Elisabeth Witzenhausen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198824961

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198824961.001.0001

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Weak elements in cycles

Weak elements in cycles

A case study on dative pronouns in Old Italo-Romance

Chapter:
(p.71) 5 Weak elements in cycles
Source:
Cycles in Language Change
Author(s):

Jacopo Garzonio

Silvia Rossi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198824961.003.0005

The diachronic development of Modern Italian pronouns, in particular of the 3pl dative loro ‘to them’ (Cardinaletti 2010; Egerland 2010), could be seen as the first step in a linguistic cycle in which elements become more and more structurally deficient, going from strong XPs, through weak deficient XPs, and finally to clitic X°s. However, historical data from Old Tuscan varieties show that there is much distributional instability and variation which is not easily accommodated in Cardinaletti and Starke’s (1999) tripartite typology. It will be claimed that the diachronic development of dative loro can be captured in terms of a close interaction between the internal structure of pronouns (where reanalysis as upward movement and the Head Preference Principle derive different degrees of structural deficiency), and general rules governing sentence structure.

Keywords:   dative pronoun, Old Italo-Romance, morphosyntax, cycle, weak pronoun, strong pronoun, clitic pronoun

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