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Different sources of convergent patterns in the Alps

Giuliano Bernini


The diffusion of particle-verbs in Rhaeto-Romance and Italo-Romance dialects is surveyed on the basis of a selection of 13 AIS maps presenting the responses to 12 input sentences referring to different events. Particle-verbs are more frequent in the coding of motion than non-motion events. The geographic diffusion appears to be biased towards the Central and the Eastern Alps and the Central Po Plain. The distribution of particle-verbs is shown to correlate with the presence of systems of topographical deixis and to result from processes of language shift from Romance to Germanic in the mountains. Diffusion in the plain has resulted from inter-dialectal contact along cross-Alpine trade routes.

Corresponding author: Guliano Bernini, Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Bergamo, Italy, E-mail:

  1. Note: The research on the verb-particle template in the Alps was financed by the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures of the University of Bergamo (Italy) (Project: Problems of contrastive typology, grant 60BER20). I am grateful to Livio Gaeta and to an anonymous reader for their useful remarks and observations on a first draft of this paper. For any shortcomings found in the text the author is the only responsible, ça va sans dire.


Western Alps: 107, 109, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 121, 122, 123, 124, 126, 128, 129, 131, 132, 133, 135, 140, 142, 143, 144, 150, 152, 153, 160, 161, 163, 170, 181, 182.

Western Plain: 137, 138, 139, 146, 147, 149, 155, 156, 159, 172, 173, 175

Central Alps: 1 Sur, 3 Sur, 5 Sut, 7 Ung, 9 Ueng, 10 Sur, 11 Sur, 13 Sur, 14 Sut, 15 Sut, 16 Surm, 17 Surm. 19 Ueng, 22. 25 Surm, 27 Surm, 28 Oeng, 29 Ueng, 31, 32, 35 Surm, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46 Oeng, 47 Oeng, 50, 51, 52, 53, 58, 70, 71, 73, 93, 205, 209, 216, 218, 222, 223, 224, 225, 227, 229, 231, 234, 236, 237, 238, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 256, 258, 259.

Sur Surselvan; Surm Surmeiran; Sut Sutselvan; Oeng Upper Engadin; Ueng Lower Engadin.

Central Plain: 250, 252, 254, 261, 263, 265, 267, 270, 271, 273, 274, 275, 278, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 299, 401, 412, 413, 415, 423, 424, 427, 436, 439, 446, 458, 459. 479.

Eastern Alps: 305 L, 307 L, 310, 311, 312 L, 313 L, 314 L, 315 L, 316 L, 317 L, 318 F, 319 F, 320, 322, 323 L, 325 L, 326 L, 327, 328 F, 329 F, 330, 331, 332, 333, 334, 335, 336, 340, 341, 343, 344, 345, 346, 352, 360, 362, 363, 371.

L Ladin; F Friulan.

Eastern Plain: 337 F, 338 F, 339 F, 348, 349 F, 354, 356, 357 F, 359 F, 364, 365, 367, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 381, 385, 393.

F Friulan.


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Received: 2020-01-10
Accepted: 2020-07-15
Published Online: 2021-03-29
Published in Print: 2021-04-27

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