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The emergence of the Romanian supine

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The supine starts to occur in Early Modern Romanian (EMR) by the late 16th century, during the general process of replacement of infinitives in subordinated clauses. The supine replaces the infinitive in non-finite relative clauses. In this article, I argue that EMR, but not other languages (e.g., Balkan Slavic) provided ambiguity in the primary linguistic data in the context of infinitival de-relatives, because of the underspecification of de for grammatical category (i.e., either preposition or relativizing complementizer). The ambiguity led to two parallel derivations — a PP-de and a CP-de — each of them being an alternative to the infinitive relative. The latter configuration preserves the relativizing status of de, while the former reanalyzes de as a preposition.
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Keywords: Early Modern Romanian; complementizer de; diachronic syntax; supine

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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