La description morphosyntaxique à l’épreuve des textes

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This paper deals with Italian impersonal constructions featured by the clitic si, such as Si è scoperto (gli untori) ‘one has found out the plague-spreaders’, Si sono scoperti (gli untori) ‘the plague-spreaders have been found out’, Si è scoperti (come untori) ‘they have been found to be plague-spreaders’, and suggests a description of them from the point of view of both their argumental configurations, and their syntactic processes. At the surface, these constructions appear to have a non-argumental, unspecified and human subject (“dummy” or “null” final subject). This subject, however, correlates with an initial function which (a) may be a subject or a direct object, (b) may belong to a transitive or intransitive level. The verb morphology reflects both the paradigmatic and the syntagmatic relationships of the final subject.


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