Argument structure and alignment variations and changes in Late Latin

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This paper explores the diachronic relationship between the active/neutral realignment of grammatical relations taking place in Late Latin, manifested by accusative subjects, and the temporary loss of the grammatical dimension of voice. These two clusters of changes can be shown to reflect the rise of headmarking patterns in a predominantly dependent-marking language such as Latin in the passage to Romance.Three parameters play a role in the spread of the accusative into the functional domains of the nominative for non-object, core arguments: <i>semantic </i>(the inactive nature of the arguments), <i>syntactic </i>(the degree of syntactic cohesion between the argument and its predicate), <i>pragmatic </i>(the grammaticalization of a constituent originally denoting the topic of the clause), interacting, in the course of time, with the restructuring of the voice system.


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