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6 Italian guarda, prego, dai. Pragmatic Markers and the Left and Right Periphery

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Chapter Summary

In Italian, verbs like guarda "look. IMP. 2sg", prego "pray. prs. 1sg", dai "give. IMP. 2sg" are frequently used with pragmatic functions, particularly in the spoken language. Distributional properties together with morphosyntactic and semantic characteristics of the verb source, play an important role in the process of (inter)-subjectification, which has semantic as well as syntactic correlates; pragmatic-semantic change occurs sequentially as new meanings appear in syntactic most favouring contexts, advance to less favourable ones and finally innovative meanings become more abstract and polysemous, less dependent on the surrounding syntactic and semantic context. This chapter presents a brief account of how the relationship between VPMS and syntactic periphery has been treated in literature. It describes the three classes of Italian VPMS and examines the empirical evidence for correlations between pragmatic functions of three VPMS, their syntactic position and the type of discourse unit in which they appear.

Keywords: dai; guarda; language; pragmatic functions; prego; semantic characteristics; VPMS



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