Dal latino all’italiano moderno: diacronia della negazione frasale

Matteo Greco (Linguistics & Philosophy IUSS Center, Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS di Pavia)


This work focuses on a particular diachronic transformation of a syntactic category, that is the propositional negation. I consider a time span ranging from archaic Latin to modern Italian, passing through the ancient forms of medieval documents. I will show that some negative phenomena endured in different diachronic transformations, while others changed over time, confirming generalizations such as those formalized as Jespersen’s cycle. From this point of view, the change in the syntactic nature of the Latin negative morpheme nōn was crucial: it started as a maximal protection and it became a head. This change caused the multiple negation constructions that still occur in Italian. Finally, I will also discuss some negative phenomena occurring in Modern Italian, which are not well studied.

DOI: 10.4424/lam102021-4


Latin; Ancient Italian; Modern Italian; Negation; Jespersen's Cycle.

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