Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 11, No 2-3-4 (2017)

Morphosyntactic variation: Individual grammar and group grammar in the ‘de-dialectalization’ of Italian

Massimo Cerruti
Issued Date: 26 Mar 2018

Abstract


This paper draws upon the results of recent sociolinguistic studies on regional varieties of Italian and aims to provide a general overview of the differences between and within socially defined groups with respect to the use of regional morphosyntactic features. In this respect, a distinction is made between the following cases: (i) similar sociolects, similar idiolects; (ii) different sociolects, similar idiolects; and (iii) same sociolect, different idiolects. These three cases are discussed against the backdrop of the progressive loss of regional morphosyntactic features of Italian across generations, a process which is referred to here as the ‘de-dialectalization’ of Italian. Various phenomena are considered; among others, the use of personal pronouns conveying a reflexive meaning, the distribution of simple past and compound past, the lack of subject-verb agreement in existential plural constructions, the so-called doubly filled complementizer, and the presence of direct object marking.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.32807

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