Overabundance occurs when two or more forms are available to realize the same cell in an inflectional paradigm, as in It. devo/debbo ‘must.1SG.PRS.IND’. Such multiple forms, called cell-mates, abound in Italian. This paper presents a case study of the diachronic evolution of the cell-mates realizing the 1SG and 3PL cells of the Present Indicative of the verbs DOVERE ‘must’, VEDERE ‘see’, CHIEDERE ‘ask’, SEDERE ‘sit’, POSSEDERE ‘possess’. Analysis of corpora of Italian texts dating from the 13th to the 20th century shows that some cases of overabundance were reduced over time, while others have been maintained till the present. This paper explores the factors responsible for these different outcomes. Previous observations that overabundance tends to be better preserved in low-frequency items and in forms learned relatively late appear confirmed by the Italian data; in addition, conscious normative interventions have been found to play a great role in the Italian situation. In conclusion, this study shows that overabundance is a genuine type of non-canonical phenomenon that can occur in paradigms; the idea often put forward in the literature, that overabundance will eventually inevitably be eliminated in all cases, is not fully supported by the data.

Reduction and maintenance of overabundance. A case study on Italian verb paradigms

THORNTON, ANNA MARIA
2012-01-01

Abstract

Overabundance occurs when two or more forms are available to realize the same cell in an inflectional paradigm, as in It. devo/debbo ‘must.1SG.PRS.IND’. Such multiple forms, called cell-mates, abound in Italian. This paper presents a case study of the diachronic evolution of the cell-mates realizing the 1SG and 3PL cells of the Present Indicative of the verbs DOVERE ‘must’, VEDERE ‘see’, CHIEDERE ‘ask’, SEDERE ‘sit’, POSSEDERE ‘possess’. Analysis of corpora of Italian texts dating from the 13th to the 20th century shows that some cases of overabundance were reduced over time, while others have been maintained till the present. This paper explores the factors responsible for these different outcomes. Previous observations that overabundance tends to be better preserved in low-frequency items and in forms learned relatively late appear confirmed by the Italian data; in addition, conscious normative interventions have been found to play a great role in the Italian situation. In conclusion, this study shows that overabundance is a genuine type of non-canonical phenomenon that can occur in paradigms; the idea often put forward in the literature, that overabundance will eventually inevitably be eliminated in all cases, is not fully supported by the data.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

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/11697/15545
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 45
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact