Il contatto tra il greco e le varietà romanze nella Calabria meridionale

Adam Ledgeway (University of Cambridge, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages), Norma Schifano (University of Cambridge, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages), Giuseppina Silvestri (University of Cambridge, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages)

Abstract

Centuries-old Greek-Romance contact in southern Italy has led to the Hellenization of the local surrounding Romance dialects, as succinctly summed up by Rohlfs’ catchphrase spirito greco, materia romanza (literally ‘Greek spirit, Romance material’) to highlight the fact that in many respects the syntax underlying these Romance dialects is Greek, despite employing predominantly Romance lexis. In the same way, in more recent times, the indigenous Greek dialects of these areas have increasingly been subjected to Romance influence (in particular, from regional Italian) giving rise to a number of underlyingly Romance structures and features in an otherwise Greek syntax. In this article we draw on two case studies from the Romance and Greek varieties spoken in Calabria to illustrate how the syntax of argument-marking has variously been subject to contact-induced change. In both cases, it is shown that contact-induced borrowing does not replicate the original structure of the lending language but, rather, combines aspects of core Greek and Romance syntax to produce innovative hybrid structures, the evidence of which can be profitably used to throw light on the formal characterization and nature of convergence and divergence. Furthermore, the data considered here underline how convergence between grammars in contact does not necessarily lead to simple borrowing and transference through interference, but, more frequently, it gives rise to new hybrid structures born of reanalysis of the original Italo-Greek or regional Italian structures within a Romance or Italo-Greek grammar.

DOI: 10.4424/lam72018-5

Keywords

Plurilingualism; Multilingualism; Calabria; Greek; Italian dialects; Dative; Causative.

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