Same family, different paths

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This chapter examines the intratypological variation that exists in verbframed Romance languages with respect to the semantic component of Path. Based on contrastive elicited data from the Frog stories in French, Italian, and Spanish, it is shown that Italian speakers, contrary to what is expected in verb-framed languages and to what Spanish and French speakers do, offer detailed descriptions of Path, prefer Plus-ground verb constructions and mention more than one Path element per verb. These results not only support the presence of intratypological variation in languages within the same genetic family – an underexplored area – but also confirm the existence of a cline of Path salience. Italian, Spanish, and French are undoubtedly verbframed languages, but they occupy different positions on this cline. Italian is a high-path salient language whereas Spanish and even more French are lowpath salient languages.


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