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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton October 14, 2021

Dative experiencers with nominal predicates in Romanian: a synchronic and diachronic study

  • Mihaela Ilioaia EMAIL logo and Marleen Van Peteghem
From the journal Folia Linguistica

Abstract

This article investigates the evolution of the Romanian pattern [dative clitic + ‘be’ + N] (cf. Mi-e foame, lit. me.dat=is hunger, ‘I’m hungry’) from the 16th century until present-day Romanian. This pattern traces back to the Latin mihi est construction (lit. me.dat is), but is semantically more restricted than its Latin ancestor in that it can only express a physiological or psychological state. The aim of our study is to examine to what extent the dative experiencer behaves like a subject and the noun denoting a state like a predicate. We argue that, although certain subject diagnostics raise problems in Romanian, due to the obligatoriness of clitics and the scarcity of controlled infinitives, this pattern is clearly an instance of non-canonical subject marking with quirky dative case. The tendency toward expansion of this construction in present-day Romanian contradicts the hypothesis proposed in language typology according to which non-canonical subject marking tends to recede in favor of canonical marking in European languages.


Corresponding author: Mihaela Ilioaia, Department of Linguistics, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, E-mail:

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Supplementary Material

The online version of this article offers Appendices 1 and 2 as supplementary material (https://doi.org/10.1515/flin-2021-2031).


Received: 2020-09-28
Accepted: 2021-04-25
Published Online: 2021-10-14
Published in Print: 2021-11-25

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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