Chapter

Configurationality and the rise of functional structure

Adam Ledgeway

in From Latin to Romance

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199584376
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741463 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199584376.003.0004

Series: Oxford Studies in Diachronic and Historical Linguistics

Configurationality and the rise of functional structure

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This chapter shows that, in contrast to Latin, the Romance languages present abundant evidence for the widespread existence of functional structure and associated functional categories in the left edge of the nominal, verbal, and clausal groups. Within the context of the discussion of the rise of configurationality in Chapter 3, these facts now find an immediate and natural explanation. In particular, we can link the rise of Romance functional structure directly to the emergence of configurationality: as long as Latin had a flat, non-configurational structure, it also lacked functional structure, which only began to emerge when the language started to develop configurationality, first at the level of the clause (CP) and in the prepositional group (PP), and subsequently within the verbal (IP) and nominal (DP) groups. In short, when in the passage from Latin to Romance the language began to project configurational phrase structure according to the universally available X-bar schema, the functional projections CP, PP, IP, and DP (and eventual splits thereof) came at once ‘for free’.

Keywords: Romance languages; Latin; nominal domain; verbal; sentential; determiner phrase; inflectional phrase; complementizer phrase; configurationality

Chapter.  37013 words. 

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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