Article published in:New Perspectives on Romance Linguistics: Vol. II: Phonetics, Phonology and Dialectology. Selected papers from the 35th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), Austin, Texas, February 2005
Edited by Jean-Pierre Y. Montreuil
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 276] 2006
► pp. 183–205
How To Do Things Without Junk
The Refunctionalization of a Pronominal Subsystem between Latin and Romance
This paper examines the evolution of the accusative and dative forms of the Latin first- and second-person singular pronouns in the light of Lass’s claim that an opposition which has lost its original value and become vacuous ‘junk’ may assume a new linguistic function. In some Romance languages, the original opposition of case is lost, but the morphological opposition is refunctionalized to encode a distinction between a conjunctive and a disjunctive form. However, this phenomenon seems crucially not to involve ‘junk’, since it is always the original accusative which yields the conjunctive pronoun and the original dative which yields the disjunctive form. Instead, we are arguably dealing with ‘skeuomorphy’ – the state in which an opposition has been evacuated of its exponence, but retains some abstract identity which is not yet ‘junk’. If the opposition is refunctionalized, its refunctionalization will be guided by this residual dichotomy.
Published online: 31 August 2006
Cited by 8 other publications
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