Course Program

This cycle of lectures will face a selection of highly relevant topics that are likely to open intriguing perspectives into possible domains of advanced research. The following two topics will in particular be addressed:
A) The acquisition of tense-aspect structures.
After a general introduction, that will also present the results of an investigation carried out on Italian L1 (“first language”) learners, the attention will focus on a typical “aspectually prominent” language such as Mòoré, a Gur language mostly spoken in Burkina-Faso. The still prevailing view in this domain of research, as inspired by inherently semantic principles, underlines the priority of the category of aspect in the acquisitional process. By contrast, the lectures will propose an alternative approach that takes into account the morphological properties of the target language. Although Mòoré is not the first “aspectually prominent” tongue so far addressed, this language stands out for its remarkable complexity in verb morphology. This lends compelling evidence to the demonstration.
B) Nouns with predicative morphology.
Nominal predication is a universal property. In most cases (disregarding specific exceptions), the true predicative function is fulfilled by a copula, while the noun contributes in an essentially semantic way to the predicative phrase by qualifying the lexical meaning. A few languages, however, exhibit dedicated morphological affixes which in and by themselves indicate the predicative value of the noun (or adjective). The lectures will show that this admittedly rare morphosyntactic phenomenon has left unmistakable traces in typologically widely unrelated languages: namely, some languages of South America (belonging to the Zamuco and Tupí-Guaraní families), and a number of Semitic languages (although in a merely residual fashion).

Bibliographic references

Bibliographical references will be introduced and discussed in the class.

Exam

Seminars

Prerequisites

No specific prerequisites are required. The notions will be introduced gradually and keeping into account the degree of previous knowledge of the individual student.