In this paper, we consider mood selection in embedded clauses by focusing on a Germanbased minority language, Cimbrian, which is spoken in a northern Italian enclave. Mood selection in Cimbrian relies on the presence of two different complementizers, az and ke (the latter being borrowed from Romance varieties), each of which selectively require a specific mood. Az selects the mood subjunctive in modal sentences introduced by non-factive verbs, whereas ke co-occurs with the indicative in purely declarative clauses introduced by factive and semi-factive verbs. However, this binary distribution is challenged in the two following contexts, and it is precisely at this point that feature borrowing comes into play: (i) with the verb gloam ‘to believe/to think’, the expected binary pattern appears (irrealis az + subjunctive and the realis ke + indicative), but, crucially, a third construction emerges, namely ke + subj.; (ii) surprisingly, az + subj. displays some ‘gaps’ in its paradigm, specifically in the first person, which appeared in the data we collected via translation tasks from Italian into Cimbrian. Both phenomena shed light on how language contact works, not in terms of structural borrowing but rather in terms of the transfer of the specific features of a given lexical item.

Feature Borrowing in Language Contact

Tomaselli, Alessandra
;
Bidese, Ermenegildo;Padovan, Andrea
2022

Abstract

In this paper, we consider mood selection in embedded clauses by focusing on a Germanbased minority language, Cimbrian, which is spoken in a northern Italian enclave. Mood selection in Cimbrian relies on the presence of two different complementizers, az and ke (the latter being borrowed from Romance varieties), each of which selectively require a specific mood. Az selects the mood subjunctive in modal sentences introduced by non-factive verbs, whereas ke co-occurs with the indicative in purely declarative clauses introduced by factive and semi-factive verbs. However, this binary distribution is challenged in the two following contexts, and it is precisely at this point that feature borrowing comes into play: (i) with the verb gloam ‘to believe/to think’, the expected binary pattern appears (irrealis az + subjunctive and the realis ke + indicative), but, crucially, a third construction emerges, namely ke + subj.; (ii) surprisingly, az + subj. displays some ‘gaps’ in its paradigm, specifically in the first person, which appeared in the data we collected via translation tasks from Italian into Cimbrian. Both phenomena shed light on how language contact works, not in terms of structural borrowing but rather in terms of the transfer of the specific features of a given lexical item.
root-embedded word order asymmetry; lexical complementizers; subjuntive mood; Cimbrian syntax; language contact
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
languages-07-00288 - published version.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione dell'editore
Licenza: Dominio pubblico
Dimensione 1.21 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
1.21 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1077766
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact