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Light and heavy reflexive marking: The Middle Domain in Romanian

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In Romanian, the middle marker se is employed to encode five distinct situation types: reflexive, reciprocal, (medio-)passive, inchoative and impersonal. This work identifies the relationships among the different uses of the marker and puts forward explanations for them within a cognitive, functional framework. Following studies such as those by Faltz (1985), Haiman (1983), Haspelmath (2005), Kemmer (1993ab), Lakoff (1977), Manoliu-Manea (1994, 2000), Maldonado (1992, 1999), Manney (2000), and Yoshimura and Taylor (2004), the current paper gives a synchronic account of the Romanian Middle Domain, its organization and the relationships between the various middle constructions found inside it. Findings suggest that the semantic property of low elaboration of events (introduced by Kemmer, 1993ab) constitutes the common denominator among the different uses explored. This work provides an insight into Romanian itself, as well as a contribution to cognitive theories of human language and responds to the call for more data and further investigations of middles cross-linguistically (see Smith, 2004).
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Keywords: Romanian language; cognitive linguistics; middles; reflexives

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2007

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  • Published under the auspices of the Spanish Cognitive Linguistics Association
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