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Remarks on the Role of the Perfect Participle in Italian Morphology and on its History

Andrea Calabrese
From the journal Probus

Abstract

Since (Aronoff, Mark. 1994. Morphology by itself. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press), the disparate morphosyntactic roles that past participle forms have in Latin (and Italian) morphology have played a central role in arguing for morphomic approaches. In this article, I will propose an alternative analysis of the special behavior of these participle forms in Distributed Morphology (DM, Halle Morris, & Alec Marantz. 1993. Distributed morphology and the pieces of inflection. In Kenneth Hale & Samuel Jay Keyser (eds.), The view from building 20: Essays in linguistics in honor of Sylvain Bromberger, 111–176. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.). In particular, I will propose that morphological spell-out, as a first stage of the PF derivation, includes morphological repairs triggered by abstract “morphomic” constraints. These repairs can insert “ornamental” pieces – structures that are not motivated syntactically or semantically but only morphologically – to mediate the interface between abstract syntactico-semantic structures and surface PF construction. I will demonstrate the role that these repairs play in accounting for the surface convergence between perfect and passive participle forms, and adjectival stative ones, and for the appearance of past participles in nominalizations. The article ends with an analysis of Latin past participle morphology focusing on its historical development. The first part of this analysis deals with the development of Latin verbal structure from Proto-Indo-European (PIE) and in particular with the development of “ornamental” thematic vowels. It then turns to a brief investigation of the historical development of the Latin past participle exponent /-t-/ from PIE adjectival suffix *-tó-, and of the PIE agentive and action/result nominal suffixes *-tér/tor, *-ti-, *-tu, *-men-(to)-. This will lead to a discussion of Latin nominalizations, the supine and the future participle and a possible explanation of why they contain participial morphology.


Corresponding author: Andrea Calabrese, Department of Linguistics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA, E-mail:

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Published Online: 2020-10-15
Published in Print: 2020-11-18

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