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Experiencers and psychological noun predicates

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Abstract

This paper investigates aspects of the syntactic behaviour of Experiencers in constructions with noun predicates, and traces a diachronic development from Latin to Italian. A peculiarity of the constructions under analysis is the coexistence of different patterns sharing the same verb form: thus, in combinations of the Latin verb <i>capere</i> &#8216;take&#8217;, the Experiencer may surface as Subject or as Object. In Italian (and other Romance languages), both possibilities survive, via the lexical replacement of <i>capere</i> with another verb for &#8216;take&#8217; (in Italian, <i>prendere</i>). Moreover, a new pattern emerges, in which the Experiencer surfaces as an Indirect Object. The morphosyntactic properties of the three Italian types (with the Experiencer, respectively, as Subject, as Direct Object and as Indirect Object) are investigated, and some salient peculiarities are accounted for as the result of the interaction between non-canonical arguments (such as Experiencers), and non-canonical predicates (namely, noun predicates).

References

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