Prepositionless genitive and N+N compounding in (Old) French and Italian

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In this contribution, we examine four cases of prepositionless genitive assignment: (a) certain alleged cases of N+N composition in Modern Italian that respond positively to important diagnostics for syntactic behavior; (b) the so-called Juxtaposition Genitive widely attested in Old French; (c) the relatively less appreciated presence of some peculiar forms of Juxtaposition Genitive in Old Italian, attested until the end of the 14th century and partially still surviving in certain Central and Southern Italian dialects; (d) the so-called genitive compounds in West-Frisian. By exploiting Kayne’s insights on the syntax of possessive constructions, we challenge the traditional view that the loss of synthetic genitive morphology necessarily leads to modalities of prepositional genitive assignment in the transition from (Late) Latin to Romance. The hypotheses formulated here are potentially relevant for a general theory of genitive assignment and for the study of the interface between syntax and morphology.


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