Silvia Ballarè

Non-canonical negation and the Jespersen’s cycle: a southern-Italian perspective

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In this paper, I investigate non-canonical negation strategies realized through co-etymological forms as they are found in the geographical variety of Italian and the Italo-Romance dialect spoken in Lavello, a small town of the Basilicata region. Firstly, I consider the outcomes of the Jespersen’s cycle that involve a particle derived from Latin mi ca(m) (“crumbµ) in Italian and in Lavellese. Forms connected with this lexical type have traditionally been considered to belong only to Northern (and Central) dialects, while they have not yet been fully investigated in Southern dialects. Besides, I focus on the outcomes of language contact between Italian and Lavellese, by highlighting the bidirectionality of its dynamics, and by relating the functions covered by the negative particles to the pragmatic notions of subjectivity and inter-subjectivity.


  • Italo-Romance Dialects
  • Negation
  • Language Contact
  • Intersubjectivity


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