Double agreement in the Alpine languages

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This paper provides a description and diachronic analysis of various double agreement effects on the basis of Bavarian, Alemannic and Ladin data. It is shown that such occurrences of agreement allomorphy in verbal inflection indicate an intermediate stage in the grammaticalization of subject enclitics to verbal subject agreement markers. They have to be seen as a result of cognitive selection procedures that operate during language acquisition ensuring the choice of the most specific forms and the most economical structures that are compatible with the Primary Linguistic Data. In the alpine varieties at hand the emergence of double agreement has brought about an important specialization of pronominal and verbal paradigms and at the same time a considerable economization of syntactic representations.


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