4. Old Italian ditransitive constructions: between alternation and change

in The Diachrony of Ditransitives


This chapter deals with the variety of alignment types, as identified by typological research, to which ditransitive verbs gave rise in Old Italian, where the Recipient may be expressed not only as an indirect object, as is proper of ditransitive constructions in Modern Italian (showing indirective alignment), but also as a direct object: this mirrors the Latin state of affairs, where neutral alignment and secundative alignment were allowed beside indirective alignment. In this contribution it will be shown how the set of changes undergone by ditransitive constructions from Latin to Modern Italian is in principle larger and more complex than previously recognized, and how Old Italian is crucial when attempting to reconstruct the diachronic paths taken by this class of verbs. In particular, the factors will be investigated which can explain evolution, partial continuity and loss in the argument structure of Italian ditransitives.

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