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Alla finfine sono daccordo’: A Corpus-Based Case Study on Italian Adverbial Phrases Grammaticalization

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Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNAI,volume 11755)

Abstract

We present results of a corpus-based synchronic study on the grammaticalization of Italian adverbial phrases. In particular, we claim that spelling irregularities of adverbial constructions provide evidence of ongoing grammaticalization processes. Adverbial phrases are hence already decategorized analytic constructions that are undergoing paradigmaticization and subsequently lexicalization. We selected 40 adverbial phrases of different length (2–5 constituents) at different stages of the process: from completely non-alternating structures to phrases with two (or more) accepted standard spellings. By means of a corpus-based analysis we considered several properties of those constructions (i.e. frequency) and tested their significance with mixed effect modelling analysis. Specifically, we model the presence of spelling irregularities, its measure (i.e. partial or total univerbation), and frequency of irregular forms. Results of such a corpus-based statistical analysis, albeit preliminary, yield several interesting considerations on synchronic factors that facilitate or hinder processes of grammaticalization, especially the role of frequency and number of construction constituents. Findings support current usage-based literature on grammaticalization as constructionalization.

Keywords

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Notes

  1. 1.

    See [6] for a systematic account of usage-based theory and grammaticalization.

  2. 2.

    Even though the two notions are not entirely overlapping, for the purposes of this work we will use the terms interchangeably.

  3. 3.

    “If in the end the parts of speech lost their own proper function, they would lie drowned in the vast whirlpool of adverbs. The adverb draws to itself parts of speech, like the all-absorbing sea, and violently forces them to obey its laws” (Smaragdus, IX cent. AD. Translated by [36] as cited in [37]).

  4. 4.

    All following examples are taken from the ItWac corpus.

  5. 5.

    All frequencies were normalized per million words.

  6. 6.

    A few OCCs in Italian AdvCs are linguistic fossils (as is the N “canto” in the sense of “location” in the AdvC “d’altro canto). However, we had too few data points to statistically account for these elements. We reserve a more in-depth account of such cases for future work.

  7. 7.

    Frequencies were logarithmically transformed for visualization purposes for all charts.

  8. 8.

    We performed all following analyses in the statistical computing environment R [45].

  9. 9.

    The dependent variable (token frequency of irregularly spelled AdvCs) was log-transformed.

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Appendix

Appendix

AdvC

Freq. pm

Irregular spelling

OCC

POS

a caso

21.12

/

caso

N

a fianco

12.88

affianco

fianco

N

a parte

44.20

Apparte, aparte

parte

N

a posto

11.5

Aposto, apposto

posto

N

a malapena

2.16

/

pena

N

a proposito

36.33

Aproposito, approposito

proposito

N

da capo

2.61

Daccapo, dacapo

capo

N

d’accordo

47.26

daccordo

accordo

N

di nuovo

0.50

dinuovo

nuovo

agg

di sopra

54.29

disopra

sopra

avv

fin qui

9.69

finquì

Fin, qui

avv

in effetti

34.28

ineffetti

effetti

N

nient’affatto

1.9

nientaffatto

Niente, affatto

avv

per caso

19.21

percaso

caso

N

per favore

9.68

perfavore

favore

N

per niente

9.71

perniente

niente

avv

tutt’altro

12.04

tuttaltro

altro

agg

un po’

252.60

Unpò, un pò

poco

agg

a meno che

15.26

/

meno

avv

al di là

37.94

Aldilà, al dilà

avv

al di sopra

9.87

al disopra, aldisopra

sopra

avv

alla fin fine

1.27

alla finfine

fine

N

d’altra parte

8.22

daltra parte, d’altraparte

parte

N

d’altro canto

6.98

Daltrocanto, d’altrocanto

canto

N

di buon’ora

0.5

di buonora

ora

avv

per di più

8.14

per dipiù, perdipiù

più

avv

per lo meno

5.36

per lomeno, perlomeno

meno

avv

per lo più

14.25

Perlopiù, perlo più

più

avv

più o meno

14.25

piu o meno

Più, meno

avv

su due piedi

0.47

/

Due, piedi

N

a colpo d’occhio

0.31

/

ocehio

N

a mano a mano

2.51

/

mano

N

dall’oggi al domani

0.32

/

Oggi, domani

avv

di punto in bianco

0.44

/

Punto, bianco

N

di tanto in tanto

4.48

di tanto intanto

tanto

agg

di volta in volta

11.63

di volta involta

volta

N

d’ora in poi

4.12

dora in poi

ora

avv

in quattro e quattr’otto

0.2

in quattro e quattrotto

Quattro, otto

agg

per filo e per segno

0.4

/

Filo, segno

N

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Busso, L., Castelli, M. (2019). ‘Alla finfine sono daccordo’: A Corpus-Based Case Study on Italian Adverbial Phrases Grammaticalization. In: Corpas Pastor, G., Mitkov, R. (eds) Computational and Corpus-Based Phraseology. EUROPHRAS 2019. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 11755. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30135-4_3

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