Thursday 9 November – Norma Schifano

Speaker: Norma Schifano (University of Cambridge)
Title: The expression of progressive aspect in an endangered variety: the case of Grico
Date: Thursday 9 November
Venue: Van Eyckhof 3/002
Time: 15.15-16.30 hrs

Joint work with Adam Ledgeway and Giuseppina Silvestri (University of Cambridge)

The aim of this talk is to investigates the expression of progressive aspect by means of verbal periphrases in the Italo-Greek variety known as Grico, spoken in Salento (southern Italy). Building on the extremely valuable, yet out-dated, description of Rohlfs (1977), we first present an overview of the array of different patterns brought to light by our recent fieldwork and through a survey of a selection of both early and contemporary sources which include combinations of (non-)inflected STAND with (non-)finite forms of a lexical verb, optionally linked by functional elements. After describing the empirical scenario, we assess the degree of grammaticalization of the patterns which are still productive today, reconstructing their evolution from earlier periphrases and paying particular attention to the grammaticalization of the ambiguous element pu ‘where; from; that’. Finally, we analyse a hybrid structure currently consistently produced by semi-speakers from different villages, which seems to instantiate a new ‘third’ option within the local repertoire. We conclude with of a number of observations about the role of this case study for our knowledge of diatopic morphosyntactic microvariation in Grico and for the nature of language contact and language change.

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