, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 155–188

The emergence of verb-particle constructions in Italian: locative and actional meanings

Original Paper


The paper deals with verb-particle constructions in Italian, i.e. complex predicates formed by a verbal base and a modifying post-verbal particle. In recent years a lot of interest has been devoted to these constructions in the Germanic languages, and investigation has been focusing mostly on their structure. Recently, some studies have shown that similar constructions also exist in the Italian language. Our contribution adopts a constructionist approach and aims at improving our knowledge of the properties of verb-particle constructions in Italian with particular reference to semantics and Aktionsart. The paper shows that Italian post-verbal particles contribute to the Aktionsart of verb-particle constructions. Even though Italian does not present a coherent system of actional particles, there are nonetheless some traces of regularity. One case in point is the emergence of a specific verbparticle construction with via ’away’ that developed an actional function. The paper also discusses the diachronic and synchronic relationship between verbal prefixes and post-verbal particles, trying to determine whether these two strategies cooperate or compete in the expression of locative and aspectual meanings.


Verb-particle constructions Italian Aktionsart Construction grammar 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Studi Linguistici e LetterariUniversità di Salerno (Italy), Facoltà di Lingue e Letterature StraniereFisciano (Salerno)Italy
  2. 2.Dipartimento di LinguisticaUniversità Roma Tre (Italy), Facoltà di Lettere e FilosofiaRomaItaly

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