Head‐marking and dependent‐marking

Adam Ledgeway

in From Latin to Romance

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199584376
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741463 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Diachronic and Historical Linguistics

Head‐marking and dependent‐marking

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This chapter highlights some of the advantages that can be gained from adopting the head-/dependent-marking distinction in understanding a number of the fundamental changes in the morphosyntax of Latin and Romance. It notes how this typological distinction can be profitably married together with the results of the previous chapters. In particular, the claim regarding the emergence of functional structure in the passage from Latin to Romance developed in Chapter 4 provides a principled explanation for the gradual rise of head-marking in Romance, since it is precisely the availability of these functional head positions in the grammar which enables the Romance languages to spell out overtly and index the formal properties of their associated dependents. By the same token, the gradual demise of a Latin XP/Specifier-syntax, manifested in the movement operations of phrasal dependents to argument (roll-up) and left-peripheral positions (edge-movement), in favour of a Romance X/Head-syntax, manifested in the gradual rise of head-movement operations and the direct lexicalization of different functional head positions, developed in Chapter 5, provides the necessary analytic tools to interpret the gradual shift away from dependent-marking (specifier-syntax) to head-marking (head-syntax).

Keywords: morphosyntax; Latin; Romance; functional structure; phrasal dependents; specifier syntax; head syntax

Chapter.  9389 words. 

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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