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Syntax Interface Lectures Utrecht


6 June 2019
16:00 - 17:00
Trans 10, room 0.19 (A.W. de Grootkamer)

Laura Migliori (Leiden University)

Romance Purpose Prepositional Infinitives (PPIs). A comparative and diachronic study


Purpose Prepositional Infinitives (PPIs) are a widespread structure in Romance languages (Schulte 2007, a. o.):

(1) Mia figlia prende l’autobus per andare a scuola [Italian]

my daughter-F.3SG take-3SG the bus to go-INF. to school

(2) Ma fille prend le bus pour aller à l’école [French]

my daughter- F.3SG take- 3SG the bus to go-INF. to school

‘My daughter takes the bus to go to school’

Interestingly, this kind of complement clause is not attested in Latin, which exhibits other strategies for expressing a purpose sentence. Moreover, the literature on Romance purpose clauses has mainly focused on the development of finite sentences, leaving the indefinite ones aside (cf. Cantero 2013 among many others).

The main aims of this study will be: (i) analyse the properties of this Romance complement clause, with special attention to synchronic variation; (ii) formulate a hypothesis on its emergence during the Latin-Romance transition. It will be shown that the core characteristics of PPIs are subject coreference on the one hand and the compulsoriness of a preposition on the other hand. As for its diachronic development, it will be proposed that the emergence of this structure can be related to a number of majour changes characterizing the Latin-Romance transition, like alignment competition (Ledgeway 2012) and preposition extension (Adams 2013). In this way, the appearance of PPIs can be understood as a development which is coherent with the whole language system and not as an isolated fact.