Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics: Volume 5
  • ISSN 1572-0268
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0276
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This paper explores the choice between the auxiliaries BE and HAVE with Italian intransitive verbs. Most attempts to account for split intransitivity in Italian, as well as in other Romance languages, can be roughly grouped into two categories: the syntactic perspective and the semantic view. In this article I propose that instead of attempting to identify one single parameter responsible for the choice between BE and HAVE, the Romanists should, as our colleagues in other language families have already done, consider the auxiliary selection in terms of a combination of motivations related to the speakers’ conceptualization of the event and to their access to the relevant image schema. This proposition prompts us to reassess the conclusions previously reached by researchers working with aphasic subjects. In addition, it fosters integration between cognitive linguistics and neuroscience by providing a solution to the so-called “Granularity Mismatch Problem.”


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