Chapter published in:Contrastive Studies in Verbal Valency
Edited by Lars Hellan, Andrej L. Malchukov and Michela Cennamo
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 237] 2017
► pp. 252–273
Object omission and the semantics of predicates in Italian in a comparative perspective
This paper discusses the semantics of O(bject) omission with divalent verbs in Italian, in relation to (i) the interplay of the inherent and structural aspects of verb meaning with the degree of thematic specification of the subject (i.e., agentivity/control); (ii) the inherent characteristics of the O argument (e.g., animacy); (iii) the degree of semantic implication between the verb and O; (iv) the role played by the linguistic and extra-linguistic context. It is shown that object omission in Italian is highly sensitive to the event structure template of verbs (e.g., the low degree of aspectual specification of verbs) and the elements of meaning lexicalized in the verb, interacting, in turn, with other semantic and discourse-pragmatic parameters. Whereas the constraints on Indefinite Null Instantiation appear to be similar to those at work in other languages (e.g, English and French), those applying to Definite Null Instantiation display more variability.
Keywords: object omission, aspect, event structure, animacy, definiteness, referentiality, discourse pragmatics
Published online: 30 April 2017
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