Volume 58, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0035-3906
  • E-ISSN: 1600-0811
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This article assesses the theory of ‘the subjunctive as a subordination marker’ proposed by Schmitt Jensen (1970a) in light of recent advances in the study of complementation. It argues that the theory is consistent with the functional framework of Givón (2001) where event integration is said to be mirrored in syntactic integration, but that it has to be revised on two points. Firstly, instead of marking syntactic subordination, we propose that the subjunctive is used to prompt a non-referring construal of the subordinate clause in certain constructions. Secondly, we suggest that the subjunctive prompts a conceptually secondary construal of the subordinate clause in other constructions. By proposing a twofold function of the subjunctive, we can keep the main findings of Schmitt Jensen while avoiding potential circularity and shortcomings that the syntactic theory of the subjunctive faces when applied to, e.g., mood alternation.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Achard, M.
    (1998): Representation of Cognitive Structure: Syntax and Semantics of French Sentential Complements. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin-New York. 10.1515/9783110805956
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110805956 [Google Scholar]
  2. Berretta, M.
    (1994): Il parlato contemporaneo, in: Serianni, L. & P. Trifone (eds.): Storia della lingua italiana. Einaudi, Turin, vol.II1: Scritto e parlato, pp.239–279.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bolkestein, A. M.
    (1976): The relation between form and meaning of Latin subordinate clauses governed by verba dicendi. Mnemosyne, 29,2, pp.155–175. 10.1163/156852576X00375
    https://doi.org/10.1163/156852576X00375 [Google Scholar]
  4. Boye, K.
    (2010): Reference and clausal perception-verb complements. Linguistics, 48,2, pp.391–430. 10.1515/ling.2010.013
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.2010.013 [Google Scholar]
  5. (2012): Epistemic meaning: a cross-linguistic and cognitive study. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin. 10.1515/9783110219036
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110219036 [Google Scholar]
  6. Boye, K. & P. Harder
    (2012): A usage-based theory of grammatical status and grammaticalization. Language, 88,1, pp.1–44. 10.1353/lan.2012.0020
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2012.0020 [Google Scholar]
  7. (2018): Verbalmodus og sætningsmodus. Ny forskning i grammatik, 251, pp.4–15. 10.7146/nfg.v26i25.109299
    https://doi.org/10.7146/nfg.v26i25.109299 [Google Scholar]
  8. Bronzi, A. M.
    (1977): Indicativo e congiuntivo nelle completive italiane. Studi di grammatica italiana, 61, pp.425–450.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Della Valle, V. & G. Patota
    (2009): Viva il congiuntivo!Sperling & Kupfer, Milan.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Dik, S.
    (1997): The Theory of Functional Grammar. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin-New York, vol.I1: The Structure of the Clause.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Giorgi, A.
    (2009): Toward a syntax of the subjunctive mood. Lingua, 1191, pp.1837–1858. 10.1016/j.lingua.2008.11.008
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2008.11.008 [Google Scholar]
  12. Givón, T.
    (1995): Functionalism and grammar. Benjamins, Amsterdam. 10.1075/z.74
    https://doi.org/10.1075/z.74 [Google Scholar]
  13. (2001): Syntax: An introduction. Benjamins, Amsterdam, vol.II1. 10.1075/z.syn2
    https://doi.org/10.1075/z.syn2 [Google Scholar]
  14. Harder, P.
    (1996): Functional semantics: A theory of meaning, structure and tense in English. Mouton, Berlin. 10.1515/9783110818758
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110818758 [Google Scholar]
  15. Hooper, J. B.
    (1975): On Assertive Predicates. Syntax and Semantics, 41, pp.91–124.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Jespersen, O.
    (1924): The philosophy of grammar. George Allen & Unwin, London.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Lambrecht, K.
    (1994): Information Structure and Sentence Form, Topic, Focus, and the Mental Representations of Discourse Referents. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 10.1017/CBO9780511620607
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620607 [Google Scholar]
  18. Langacker, R. W.
    (1991): Foundations of cognitive grammar. Stanford University Press, Stanford, vol.II1: Descriptive application.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. (2014): Subordination in a dynamic account of grammar, in: Visapää, L., J. Kalliokoski, & H. Sorva (eds.): Context of subordination: Cognitive, typological and discourse perspectives. Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp.17–72. 10.1075/pbns.249.02lan
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.249.02lan [Google Scholar]
  20. Lombardi Vallauri, E.
    (2003): Vitalità del congiuntivo nell’italiano parlato, in: Maraschio, N. & T. Poggi Salani (eds.): Italia linguistica anno mille, Italia linguistica anno duemille: Atti del XXXIV Congresso Internazionale di Studi della Società di Linguistica Italiana (SLI). Bulzoni, Rome, pp.609–634.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Meihuizen-Dokkum, B. I.
    (1974): Indicative e congiuntivo nelle completive italiane. Mondeel-Offsettdrukkerij, Amsterdam.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Noonan, M.
    (2007): Complementation, in: Shopen, T. (ed.): Language typology and syntactic description. CUP, Cambridge, vol.II1: Complex constructions, pp.42–140. 10.1017/CBO9780511619434.002
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511619434.002 [Google Scholar]
  23. Prandi, M.
    (2002): C´è un valore per il congiuntivo?, in: Schena, L., M. Mazzoleni & M. Prandi (eds.): Intorno al congiuntivo. CLUEB, Bologna, pp.29–44.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Rohlfs, G.
    (1969): Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti. Einaudi, Turin, vol.III1: Sintassi e formazione delle parole.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Rossi, F. & F. Ruggiano
    (2013): Scrivere in italiano. Carocci, Rome.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Salvi, G. & L. Vanelli
    (2004): Nuova grammatica italiana. Il Mulino, Bologna.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Schmitt Jensen, J.
    (1970a): Subjonctif et hypotaxe en italien: Une esquisse de la syntaxe du subjonctif dans les propositions subordonnées en italien contemporain. Odense University Press, Odense.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. (1970b): Une analyse fonctionnelle du subjonctif italien, in: Rosetti, A. & S. Reinheimer-Rîpeanu (eds.): Actele celui de-al XII-lea Congres International de Linguistică şi Filologie Romanică. Editura academiei republicii socialiste romănia, Bucharest, pp.703–716.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Schneider, S.
    (1999): Il congiuntivo tra modalità e subordinazione: Uno studio sull’italiano parlato. Carocci, Rome.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Serianni, L.
    (1988): Grammatica italiana: Italiano comune e lingua letteraria: Suoni, forme e costrutti. UTET, Turin.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Serianni, L. & G. Antonelli
    (2011): Manuale di linguistica italiana: Storia, attualità, grammatica. Mondadori, Milan.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Sgroi, C. S.
    (2013): Dove va il congiuntivo? Ovvero, il congiuntivo da nove punti di vista. UTET, Turin.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Stewart, D.
    (1996): The Italian subjunctive: tradition and innovation. The Italianist, 161, pp.234–304. 10.1179/ita.1996.16.1.234
    https://doi.org/10.1179/ita.1996.16.1.234 [Google Scholar]
  34. Thompson, S. A.
    (2002): “Object complements” and conversation: Towards a realistic account. Studies in Language, 26,1, pp.125–163. 10.1075/sl.26.1.05tho
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.26.1.05tho [Google Scholar]
  35. Togeby, K.
    (1971): Jørgen Schmitt Jensen: Subjonctif et hypotaxe en italien. Thèse de Århus. 749 pages – Odense University Press, 1970. Revue Romane, 6,1, pp.127–135.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Wandruszka, U.
    (1991): Frasi subordinate al congiuntivo, in: Renzi, L. & G. Salvi. (eds.): Grande grammatica italiana di consultazione. Il Mulino, Bologna, vol.II1: I sintagmi verbale, aggettivale, avverbiale. La subordinazione, pp.415–482.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Wurmbrand, S. & M. Lohninger
    (forthcoming): An implicational universal in complementation: Theoretical insights and empirical progress, in: Hartmann, M. H. & A. Wöllstein: Propositional Arguments in Cross-Linguistic Research: Theoretical and Empirical Issues. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin.
    [Google Scholar]
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error