Address inversion in southern Italian dialects

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This article proposes a ‘topological’ reinterpretation of the extended nominal architecture in relation to southern Italo-Romance vocatives with and without allocuzione inversa (address inversion, Renzi 1968), a phenomenon involving the ‘inverse’ lexical indexation of the speaker-addressee relationship (reg.It. Mangia, papà! ‘Eat up, little one!’, father to child). Topological mapping theory (Longobardi 2005; Martín & Hinzen 2014) posits a unified model of grammatical structure and nominal reference denotation in argumental constituents, where a hierarchy of referentiality (from predicativity to deixis) emerges through the expansion of the functional architecture. Contributing to a growing theoretical consensus favouring extra ‘vocative’ structure in the nominal left periphery, we argue that Italo-Romance vocatives with and without address inversion i) involve a part-whole expansion of structure, yielding a necessarily tripartite nominal architecture (VocP-DP-NP) in line with topological principles; ii) nonetheless diverge in their structural configuration at the nominal edge, demonstrating in turn how the internal articulation of the vocative layer serves to construe the ostensive-deictic possibilities of an object-referring expression. The phase-based application of syntactic gemination in some Italo-Romance varieties, moreover, lends support to the proposal that the topological template yields the phasal architecture (Sheehan & Hinzen 2011; Hinzen & Sheehan 2013) in the nominal domain.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Jul 2022

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Not yet published as of 08/08/2022


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