The Substance and Value of Italian Si
This book offers an original treatment of the Italian clitic si. Sharply separating encoded grammar from inference in discourse, it proposes a unitary meaning for si, including impersonals, passives, and reflexives. Si signals third-person participancy but makes no distinctions of number, gender, or case role. The analysis advances the Columbia School framework by relying on just these straightforward oppositions, attributing variety of interpretation largely to language use rather than to grammar. The analysis places si within a network of oppositions involving all the other clitics. Data come primarily from twentieth-century and more recent published and on-line literature. The book will be of interest to functional linguists, students of reflexivity, and scholars of the Italian language.
[Studies in Functional and Structural Linguistics, 74] 2017. xiii, 257 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. What is si?
Chapter 2. Opting out of sex and number: Si vs. other impersonals
Chapter 3. The system of Focus on Participants
Chapter 4. The system of Degree of Control
Chapter 5. Scale of Degree of Control: The view from the bottom
Chapter 6. Scale of Degree of Control: The view from the top
Chapter 7. Grammatical constancy and lexical idiosyncrasy
Chapter 8. Grammar constrained by lexicon: The “inherently reflexive” verbs
Chapter 9. Number and gender with si used impersonally
Chapter 10. Other related matters
Chapter 11. Background and theory
Sources of data and translation, with abbreviations
Index of names
“This book provides an original and innovative analysis of the entire Italian pronoun system, as well as enlightening critiques of such traditional linguistic concepts as transitive/intransitive, reflexive, impersonal, passive, and subject. A special strength is the close attention to examples drawn from actual language use, together with quantitative data in support of the author’s analysis.”
Ellen Contini-Morava, University of Virginia
“A richly compelling and highly innovative study of one of the most intractable problems in the syntax of Italian, and of Romance more generally. Davis offers a rigorous semantic analysis demonstrating that the received categories of traditional and formal syntax and semantics represent a blind alley, and that an analysis based on contextualized evidence transcending the boundaries of the sentence produces a much deeper understanding of the underlying principles that actually guide the use of language.”
Ricardo Otheguy, Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society
“Do not be fooled by the title! Davis’s exquisite, well-written book deserves to be read by anyone and everyone interested in the semantic and pragmatic analysis of grammatical systems (no matter their own theoretical background).”
Robert S. Kirsner, University of California, Los Angeles
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Cited by other publications
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BIC Subject: CFG – Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number: 2017018283