Asymmetries in path encoding in Sicilian: A diachronic overview

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This talk aims at describing the encoding of path within the system of spatial relations in Sicilian, an Italo-Romance language spoken in Sicily and its satellite islands. In general terms, spatial relations in Sicilian remain largely unexplored in the light of the current linguistic theories. As a consequence, the first point addressed in the proposed description is the comparison of Sicilian data with the cross-linguistic scenario. It is generally argued in the relevant literature that the encoding of path appears to be less autonomous compared to source, goal, and location at the cross-linguistic level, and its encoding is frequently based on location (see Stolz 1992). In Sicilian, the system of spatial relations can be broadly described as follows:(a)Location and direction can be expressed by the same prepositions, whose specific spatial value depends on the presence of a state or motion verb respectively. Moreover, each preposition is typically found with specific landmarks: -a ‘in, at, to’ (< Lat. ad ‘towards, near to, by’, cfr. Rohlfs 1969: 798) + place nouns;(1)vaiu a’ casa /sugnu a’ casa ‘I’m going home/I’m at home’-(i)n ‘in, to’ (< Lat. in ‘in(to)’, cfr. Rohlfs 1969: 210; Varvaro 1988: 723) + very specific and salient landmarks (such as Palermo, that is, the administrative, cultural and touristic capital of Sicily; or the ground):(2)vaiu ‘m Palermu ‘I’m going to Palermo’(3)accura a un cariri ‘n terra ‘Be careful and not to fall to the ground!’-nn- (the etymology is discussed: it was traced back to the Sicilian adverb unni 'where' or to Latin intra or intus (ad) 'inside’, cfr. Rohlfs 1969:228; Varvaro 1988:723; Leone 1995:52) + animate nouns (or nouns denoting commercial activities, e.g. Benetton):(4)vaiu nnù dutturi/nnà zia/nnì Benetton ‘I’m going to the doctor’s office/ my aunt’s house / the Benetton store’(b)Source is expressed by means of the preposition d(i) ‘from, of’ (< Lat. de ‘from’, Rohlfs 1969: 208), which is also found in some perlative constructions:(5)vegnu di nnì tia ‘I’m coming from your place’(6)pigghiavù di dda pì gghiri a tò casa ‘I took that road to go to your house’(c)Path is expressed by means of a dedicated preposition, i.e. (p)pi ‘through’ (also pri, cfr. Rohlfs 1969: 212 < Lat per ‘through’). More precisely, (p)pi expresses both unidirectional and multidirectional path:(7)pigghiàu ppi mienzu i tirrina ‘I took the road in the midst of the lands’, example in Leone 1995: 52) (8)vaiu pì li strati‘I go throughout the roads’It is relevant to observe that the multidirectional relation may also be encoded by means of a non-prepositional construction which consists in the doubling of a place noun, such as strata ‘way, street, road’, casa ‘house, home’, expressing the spatial extension along which motion is carried out (Amenta 2010; Todaro 2012; Todaro, Villoing, Gréa forth.).(9)Pinu firria strati strati ‘Pino is hanging around the streets’ (10)Vai caminannu casa casa ‘I’m walking throughout the house’ The second issue addressed concerns the diachronic path through which the system of the spatial relations has developed throughout the history of Sicilian. To this purpose, three electronic corpora have been queried in order to collect a sample of data testifying how the spatial relations - and, in particular, path(s) - are represented at different stages of the language. More specifically, ancient Sicilian (first attested in the 14th century) and modern Sicilian (15th to 19th centuries) data derives from OVI and ARTESIA, while contemporary Sicilian data derives from ALS.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteSpace in Diachrony
Numero di pagine24
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2017

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