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Reflexive Clitics in Aromanian

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AROSYN (Reflexive Clitics in Aromanian)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2017-08-31

Reflexive/SE-clitics and their role in the argument structure of verbal predicates have posed significant questions for Romance and other languages. This project aims to investigate the morpho-syntax of reflexive/SE-clitics in Romance and their consequences for argument structure, by studying SE-structures in a cluster of Aromanian varieties spoken in North-Western Greece. Aromanian is a highly endangered and understudied Eastern Romance variety which is closely related to Romanian, Megleno-Romanian, and Istro-Romanian, but which has also been in close contact with Greek. Aromanian has SE-clitics which behave differently from SE-clitics in other Romance languages (including Romanian) in significant ways. One of the aims of this project is to compare the Aromanian SE-structures to those reported for Eastern Romance (with an emphasis on Daco-Romance), and Romance more generally, and identify the grammatical features responsible for such variation. This project involves extensive fieldwork on a fairly uncharted dialect, based on solid theoretical assumptions, and differs from previous research in that it follows a micro-parametric approach to dialectal syntax within a small set of closely related varieties.
Work carried out throughout the project:

• Comprehensive survey of existing literature on Aromanian varieties targeted by project.

• Comprehensive survey of theoretical work on SE-structures in Romance and Greek.

• Creation of questionnaire for interviews:

Task 1: Translation from Greek to Aromanian – targeted specific structures and conditions involving clitic SE.

Task 2: Acceptability judgments – targeted structures not acceptable in Greek but potentially acceptable in Aromanian

Task 3: Free story –creation of repository of natural speech from a language that is dying.

• Interviews with native speakers (bilingual in Aromanian and Greek) at 4 locations in Metsovo municipality, Greece (villages Anilio, Metsovo, Milia, Votonosi): socio-linguistic profiling used; 24 speakers interviewed.

• Data transcription, glossing and analysis.

Overview of main results:

• Aromanian SE-clitics are very productive, and are found in various structures with (at least partially) distinct properties (on a par with Romance and Greek, among other language groups):

o Passive structures
o Anti-causative structures
o Reflexive & reciprocal structures
o Impersonal structures
o Middle structures

• The whole SE-system is Romance-based but strongly aligned with Greek non-active (medio-passive) system (possibly due to bilingualism).

More specifically:

• SE-passives have syntactic and semantic properties similar to those found in Romance SE-passives but also Greek medio-passives.

• SE-reflexives/reciprocals are ambiguous between a reflexive/reciprocal and passive reading (like Greek, and unlike Romance). However, SE also marks non-naturally reflexive verbs (like in the rest of Romance), whereas Greek uses the non-active voice and afto- or alilo-incorporation.

• SE-middles behave similarly to most Romance languages and Greek (e.g. allow by-phrases), although they are slightly more productive than Greek middles (e.g. compatible with more event types).

• SE-impersonals are intransitive constructions derived from transitive verbs only, on a par with Greek and unlike Romanian and Romance. Additionally, they are not compatible with an object theme DP (unlike Italian or Spanish, but like Romanian or French).

• Anticausative verbs are normally marked by SE, like Romance (Greek has both marked and unmarked anti-causatives). They lack an implicit agent (like Romance and Greek). SE-marking does not correlate with internal/external causation.

• BE-participial constructions are strictly adjectival, like Greek (and unlike most Romance languages (including Romanian), which have both adverbal and adjectival BE-participles). They can be eventive or non-eventive, and are usually found with transitives only (like Greek, and unlike Romance).

• Possession is expressed via a number of strategies whose interaction is structured around factors such as co-referentiality, long- vs. short-distance binding, alienable vs. inalienable possession, and information structure.

• The Aromanian varieties investigated mark certain Stage Level predicates only with a definite clitic which cross-references a deep object/surface subject topic, supporting proposals that BE-predicates have variable structure cross-linguistically.

• 4 research reports

• Proposal for research monograph

• Cambridge Workshop on Voice (CamVoice), 22-24 May 2017

• 12 presentations at international peer reviewed conferences & as invited guest

• 2 dissemination events for the local Metsovo municipality
• Novel and significant data from a cluster of undocumented and socio-linguistically unique varieties, using modern theoretical tools for data collection and analysis.

• First time a micro-comparative approach was used, which shows that variation among closely related varieties is systematic (competing strategies form subset relationships, on the basis of features).

• Multiple publications on various empirical and theoretical aspects of Aromanian SE-structures to be made available to researchers and non-researchers alike.

• Raw data can form the basis for a future digital archive, universally and long-distance accessible.

• The role of bilingualism in the generation of novel grammars: Aromanian SE shares many properties with Greek non-active voice, although in many respects it behaves like Romance SE.

Distribution is both Romance-like and Greek-like; morphology is Romance-like; productivity is also Romance-like, at least for passives, middles, anti-causatives and reflexives/middles; semantics and syntax are Greek-like. This means that what sounds like Romance may be more Greek-like underneath.

• Romanian (and Eastern Romance more generally, including Southern Italo-Romance) seems to be closer to Aromanian (and Greek) compared to standard Romance, in relation to certain phenomena. For example, Romanian (but also Spanish) may allow by-phrases with short (SE) passives, under strict conditions (at least for some speakers), contrary to most Romance languages. On the other hand, Aromanian uses them freely, on a par with Greek. Moreover, it lacks verbal BE-passives, like Greek and unlike Romanian. Finally, although a few speakers have a dative reflexive possessor, also found in Romanian (but also in other Romance and non-Romance Balkan languages), its distribution is aligned with non-reflexive possessors in Greek, and tends to be substituted by the null possessor strategy (also available in Greek and Romanian/Romance).

• Non-standard varieties are proper linguistic systems, although they are non-dominant in their use.

• Oral varieties are the natural form of language: they are extremely dynamic, and they are a lab for investigating the interaction of various linguistic sub-systems. In this case, we also have a bilingual setting, which constitutes an additional factor.

• Dissemination events/public engagement: provided a platform for the researcher and the local community to discuss and exchange views on various topics on Aromanian, Greek, other Romance languages, non-standard varieties, oral varieties, endangered varieties and language preservation (heritage), language and culture, language and history, bilingualism and language, language policy, language and identity.