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Italian <i>Volerci</i>

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Abstract

Based on a detailed reconstruction of the evolution of Old Italian <i>bisogna </i>“must/be necessary”, Benincà and Poletto (1994, 1997) propose that this verb underwent a process of grammaticalization through which it changed from full verb into a functional head expressing deontic necessity. This paper investigates the hypothesis that an analogous process of grammaticalization concerns the verb <i>volerci </i>“take (intr.)/be necessary” (&#60; modal <i>volere</i> “want”). The main goal of the paper is then to determine whether <i>volerci </i>can still be considered a lexical verb or it is more accurately categorized as a functional head <i>á la par</i> with <i>bisogna</i>. A careful comparison between <i>volerci</i> and Modern Italian <i>bisogna</i> reveals that the two verbs do not display similar morphosyntactic behavior; rather, <i>volerci</i> is characterized by the same structural properties as Old Italian <i>bisogna</i>. The strong morphosyntactic parallel between Old Italian <i>bisogna</i> and <i>volerci</i> leads to conclude that, although <i>volerci </i>has undergone grammaticalization to some degree, it has not lost the ability to project arguments, i.e., it has not become (yet) a modal functional element and is still a lexical verb.

References

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