Carmela Pietropaolo

The impact of morpho-syntactic constraints and frequency of use on the evolution of the subjunctive mood in Italian

ErstbetreuerProf. Dr. Rolf Kailuweit
ZweitbetreuerProf. Dr. Stefan Pfänder

The subjunctive mood in Italian can be said to have undergone a structural reorganization which affects both the functions and the grammar of its usage.
Mood variation, the alternation of different moods to convey similar meanings, is a defining feature of speech. The present project aims at investigating the evolution of the subjunctive and at pinpointing the factors which govern mood alternation. Ultimately, it seeks to understand the mental representation of the subjunctive possessed by the speakers of Italian and address the question of what influences perception of grammaticality.
A usage-based approach including corpus analysis of natural data and elicitation experiments will focus on the role of frequency among other language-external and internal parameters in the evolving grammar of subjunctive morphology. The potential and the limits of a frequency-based accounts to elucidate processes of language evolution like grammaticalization, semantic emancipation and paradigmatic restructuring will be at the centre of the investigation.

SprachenEnglish, German, Italian, French, Spanish
ForschungsrichtungMorphology, Syntax, Typology, Functional theories of grammar, Corpus linguistics, Language Change