Accusative Alternation in Old and Modern Romance

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© Editorial matter and organization Montserrat Batllori, Maria-Llusa Hernanz, Carme Picallo, and Francesc Roca 2005. All rights reserved. This chapter investigates the evolution of the argument structure of (psychological) transfer verbs from Latin to Romance. It proposes that the original Latin structure-a construction labelled as accusative alternation in parallelism with the locative alternation or the dative alternation-consists of a small clause selected by the verb and headed by a final coincidence abstract preposition that relates two NP arguments. The Latin abstract preposition would be replaced by a lexical preposition in Romance as a consequence of the loss of case noun morphology and the extension of the use of prepositions. This change would yield in Old Romance two alternating structures that semantically differ in the SOURCE or GOAL meaning of the preposition. This semantic difference becomes crucial to the development of the argument structure in Modern Romance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGrammaticalization and Parametric Variation
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Accusative alternation
  • Latin
  • Prepositions
  • Romance
  • Transfer verbs


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