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Italian Transitivity / Ergativity

Italian Transitivity / Ergativity

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Italian Transitivity / Ergativity

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  1. Italian Transitivity / Ergativity Why two analyses? Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  2. Transitivity and Ergativity in the Typological tradition • One seminal work on Ergativity in the Typological tradition isDixon’s Ergativity (1994). He suggests that there are semantic principles which inform case marking systems. • However, Dixon’s approach cannot be reconciled with the systemic functional model for two main reasons: • His notion of Subject and Object as semantically empty grammatical categories • His presupposition that these categories are universal, which lies at the basis of his analysis of a wide range of languages On the contrary, in the SF model: - there are no semantically empty categories - grammatical categories are not presupposed to be universal. They might be, to a degree, but this has to be demonstrated, and even categories named the same are likely to display differences in form and meaning – see Hasan and Fries (1995: xx) Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  3. Transitivity and ergativity in the SF model • In Systemic linguistics, Transitivity (as a broader term including the transitive and the ergative models) is the system whereby Experiential meanings are encoded in the clause, in terms of process types and participant functions (Transitivity), and agency (Ergativity) • The transitive model ‘interprets ‘“mechanically”, in terms of transmission’ (trans-ire, go through). It distinguishes between different process types and the participant functions associated with them. The Ergative model ‘interprets “scientifically”, in terms of causation’ (ergon: work; erg: a unit of work or energy in physics). It generalises across process types and participant functions (Halliday 1987: 128) Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  4. Transitivity and Ergativity across languages in the SF model • Halliday and Matthiessen (2004: 295) suggest that ‘probably all transitivity systems, in all languages, are some blend of these two semantic models of processes, the transitive and the ergative’ • This hypothesis has been explored and demonstrated for English (Halliday and Matthiessen 2004. 168-306) French (Caffarel 1997: 249-295), Warrwa (McGregor 2002: 285-317). As far as I can understand, it has been argued not to apply in Tagalog by Martin (1996: 229-296) Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  5. Transitivity and Ergativity across languages in the SF model • The aforementioned accounts are all based on the principles that: • there is a natural relationship between form and meaning: language forms are explained in terms of their semantic basis (Halliday 1994: xvii) • the grammatical categories which realise the different kinds of meaning are language specific, displaying both similarities and differences across languages. (E.g., there are Mental processes in Tagalog, but they differ form English Mental processes in that they do not include the sub-category of Mental processes of Volition) Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  6. Italian Transitivity • A functional description of the Italian language would offer a powerful model for text analysis which would be extremely helpful in our schools. We live in a semiotic and semantic world. If students are not trained to be critically aware of how reality is construed in and through language, they are bound to become passive recipients of ideologies. • That is why a first sketch of a systemic functional description of Italian transitivity will be attempted here Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  7. Italian Transitivity • Material processes can be probed by fare/fare a; can be used in the progressive periphrasis; cannot project clauses. Non va ancora all’asilo; In certi momenti mi cerca ossessivamente; • Behavioural processes can be probed by fare; can be used in the progressive periphrasis; cannot project clauses; their participant must be a conscious being Non dormiva in momenti ben distinti del giorno e della notte, ma siriposava nei momenti lasciati liberi dal servizio • Mental processes cannot be probed by fare/fare a; are not generally used in the progressive periphrasis; can have act and fact clauses as participants and project clauses; one participant must be a conscious being. Nel capitolo 9 abbiamo visto che il prodotto della forza per il tempo, cioè l’impulso, fa variare la quantità di moto di un corpo. In questo capitolo faremo vedere che il prodotto della forza per lo spostamento da essa prodotto nel medesimo tempo, cioè il lavoro, fa variare l’energia di moto (cinetica) del corpo. Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  8. Italian Transitivity • Verbal processes cannot be probed by fare/fare a; are not generally used in the progressive periphrasis; can project clauses; cannot be reversed except when they are made passive; the possibility to take fact clauses as Compelment is restricted. Sgridarlo non serve, ripetergli che sta facendo del male non serve, il castigo neppure. • Relational processes cannot be probed by fare/fare a (except when speaking of a person’s job); cannot be used in the progressive periphrasis; cannot project clauses. L’effetto serra è un fenomeno senza il quale la vita come la conosciamo adesso non sarebbe possibile. Questo processo consiste in un riscaldamento del pianeta per effetto dell’azione dei cosiddetti gas serra • Existential processes cannot be probed by fare/fare a; cannot be used in the progressive periphrasis; restricted to clauses with existential ci/vi, or ‘ecco’ or the formulaic expression ‘sia dato’ Inoltre, sulla base delle tendenze attuali di emissione dei gas serra, vi è la stima di un ulteriore aumento della temperatura terrestre tra 1,4 e 5,8°C nel periodo fra il 1990 e il 2100. Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  9. Material processes • Actor – the “doer” (coinciding with the active Subject, or the object of ergative verbs) Marco arriva alle otto. • Goal – The done to (active Object, passive Subject) Questo tavolo l’ha costruito il nonno. • Range (Locativo, oggetto interno and complemento oggetto con verbi di supporto) Piero ha saltato il muro di cinta. Gli azzurri hanno giocato un’ottima partita. Marco sta facendo un riposino. • Recipient (prepositional complement introduced by “a”) Ho dato il libro a Piero • Client (prepositional complement introduced by “per” (ho comprato il giornale per il papà), or encoded by a pronoun in the oblique case if the subject is agentive and the clause has no other indirect object (Vado a prenderti il giornale – vado a portare il giornale a Maria per Giorgio) (Salvi and Vanelli 2004: 41-2)) • “Possessore” (Salvi and Vanelli 2004: 41-2), the Owner of something which can be in Subject or Object position, or in a Circumstance of Location: “Maria asciugò il viso a Giovanni”, “Il pensiero gli corse subito a Maria”, “Mi ha fatto un segno sulla macchina” • Initiator in analytical causative constructions or in constructions with Ergative verbs: “il calore solare muove (ergative effective) / fa muovere (analytical causative) atmosfera e idrosfera” Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  10. Mental processes • Participant roles in Mental processes: • Senser: Must be a conscious being. It is usually encoded as Subject. It can be encoded as direct or indirect object in Mental processes of Affection (Mi piace la musica, Mi stupisce il tuo comportamento). When it is direct object, it does not share one property typical of the Direct Object in Italian: it does not allow for a part of the object to be extracted in Interrogative/Relative and ne constructions (Renzi et al. 1995: 70): La ragazza di cui Giorgio conosce il padre (il padre: Phenomenon), Giorgio ne conosce molti (molti: Phenomenon) vs. *La ragazza di cui Giorgio preoccupa il padre (il padre: Senser), Giorgio ne preoccupa molti (molti: Senser) (Renzi et al. 1995: 70) • Phenomenon: It is generally direct object; it can be Subject in some Affection verbs; it is encoded by a prepositional complement when the Mental process verb is inherently reflexive (e.g., accorgersi,pentirsi di, stupirsi di/per, appassionarsi a) • We have one Mental process verb which can be construed without a Subject in Italian: “A Piero non importa di nessuno” (Salvi and Vanelli 2004: 39) • Inducer: the participant which causes a Senser to feel, think, want or perceive something (Taylor Torsello 1992: 287): Giovanni mi ha fatto vedere la sua casa; Rossi mi ha convinto della bontà delle sue intenzioni. Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  11. Relational Processes • Intensive, Posessive or Circumstantial • L’effetto serra è un fenomeno senza il quale la vita come la conosciamo adesso non sarebbe possibile • Non usava comode coperte, né aveva bisogno del silenzio • Il conseguente cambiamento climatico comporterà delle implicazioni estremamente significative a carico della salute dell’uomo e dell’integrità dell’ambiente Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  12. Relational Processes:Attrubutive or Identifying Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  13. Relational processes • Attributor: The participant which ascribes an attribute to another participant: Marco ha reso quel luogo un vero paradiso; Marco ti considera un genio • Assigner: The participant who assigns identity to another participant: Il comitato ha eletto Luca (Tk/Id) presidente (Vl/Ir)– Il comitato lo ha eletto presidente In Italian we can also have Il comitato ha eletto presidente (Vk/Id) Luca (Tk/Ir) – Il comitato ha eletto presidente lui. Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  14. Relational Processes / problems • Can possessive processes be Identifying? Le tre case sono di Piero - ?Di Piero sono le tre case (Cosa è di Piero?) – Di Piero sono, le tre case (Di chi sono le tre case?)- * Di Piero lo sono, le tre case. Le tre case appartengono a Piero - ?A Piero appartengono le tre case (Cosa appartiene a Piero?)– A Piero appartengono, le tre case (A chi appartengono le tre case?) – *Le tre case lo appartengono – Le tre case gli appartengono Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  15. Existential Processes (Frasi Presentative in Salvi and Vanelli 2004: 65, Renzi et al. 1995: 85-6) • Existential processes have one participant (Existent) • Esserci, volerci; accadere, avvenire, occorrere C’è del latte in frigo? (Is there any milk in the fridge) Ci vuole lo zucchero (We need sugar). • Ecco (compare Caffarel 1997: 277-80) – signals that a participant is there in the immediate extralinguistic situation Eccola! Ecco Maria (Here is she – Here is Mary). • (Sia) dato (compare Caffarel 1997: 277-80) – used in the language of mathematics to introduce a hyothetical participant at the beginning of a problem or demonstration (Sia) dato un triangolo ABC (Let ABC be a triangle) Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  16. Verbal Processes • Verbal participant roles: • Sayer – the speaker or symbolic source producing the message (Cosa stai dicendo?) • Verbiage – what is said (Marco mi ha raccontato un sacco di bugie) • Receiver – the one to whom things are said – introduced by the preposition ‘a’ por encoded by an oblique clitic pronoun (Mi ha detto che parte domani. L’hai detto alla mamma?) • Target – the participant which is targeted by the verbal process – encoded by a direct object which can be cliticised (Hanno accusato suo fratello di furto / L’hanno accusato di furto. L’opposizione ha criticato aspramente il ministro della difesa / L’opposizione l’ha criticato aspramente) Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  17. Behavioural Processes • Generally, Behavioural processes have just one participant, the Behaver. However, they may also have a Phenomenon: ‘Sto ascoltando un CD dei Pink Floyd’ The Phenomenon cannot be probed by ‘fare a’ (*Cosa fai al CD dei Pink Floyd?), but it can be substituted by an object pronoun (Hai ascoltato il CD che ti ho prestato? Sì, l’ho ascoltato ieri) • Other Behavioural processes can have a Range which re-lexicalises the process itself: Dormire sonni profondi, Fare un brutto sogno, Fare una risata, Piangere lacrime amare. The Range cannot be substituted by an object pronoun. Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  18. Italian Ergativity • In Italian, we have the ‘Inaccusative construction’, where an intransitive Subject displays properties which are similar to those of an Object - possibility to be the referent of the partitive clitic pronoun ne and of the genitive clitic pronoun ne, possibility to be used in the absolute construction, possibility to be placed between a verb and a prepositional phrase indicating the ‘Possessore’ (see Salvi and Vanelli 2004: 55-66) Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  19. Italian ergativity • The inaccusative construction characterises (Renzi et al. 2005: 56-7): • verbs in the passive voice • the passive ‘si’ form • intransitive verbs which always have ‘essere’ as an auxiliary in compound tenses, e.g. ‘accadere, andare, arrivare, bastare, bisognare’, etc • inherently reflexive verbs, i.e., verbs which obligatorily use ‘si’ as clitic in the finite and as suffix in the non-finite forms, but which do not allow for ‘si’ to be replaced by ‘se stesso/a/i’ (oneself, oneselves). E.g., ‘accorgersi, arrabbiarsi, arrampicarsi, arrangiarsi, congratularsi, fidarsi, pentirsi, etc. • ergative verbs, i.e, verbs which can be used both transitively and intransitively, and whose transitive object is the intransitive subject, e.g ‘affondare, annerire, aumentare’ etc. Ergative verbs comprise a sub-class verbs which are obligatorily reflexive in their intransitive use, like ‘accumularsi, allargarsi, attorcigliarsi’ etc. Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  20. Italian Ergativity • Here we will not examine the details of inaccusative clauses, but rather see whether a generalised model like the one offered by Halliday and Matthiessen for English (2004: 280-306) can describe Experiential clause grammar in Italian as well. Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  21. Italian Ergativity / Medium • In Intransitive and Ranged Material and Attributive Relational processes, the Medium is the only participant which is always obligatory and always encoded directly (no preposition) Davide non va ancora all’asilo L’approccio dovrà essere necessariamente coordinato • In Transitive material processes, the Medium is the only participant which is always encoded directly, even in the passive voice (no preposition) Le attività umane stanno alterando la composizione chimica dell’atmosfera. • In Mental Processes, the Medium is the participant which is restricred in terms of the entities that may function in that role and which cannot be replaced by a projected clause. Molti lo vedevano dormire steso per terra, coperto dal mantello militare, in mezzo ai soldati di guardia. • In Verbal and Behavioural processes, the Medium is the only obligatory participant and it is restricted in terms of the entities that may function in that role. Come dobbiamo comportarci durante questi momenti di aggressività? • In Existential processes, the Medium is the only participant. Inoltre, sulla base delle tendenze attuali di emissione dei gas serra, vi è la stima di un ulteriore aumento della temperatura terrestre tra 1,4 e 5,8°C nel periodo fra il 1990 e il 2100. • In Identifying Relational processes: is the Medium always the Token, or can it also be the Value as in English? What criterion should we adopt to decide what is Medium and what is Range (or Agent?) Queste sue eccezionali qualità erano accompagnate da terribili difetti Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  22. Italian Ergativity / Agent • The Agent is the participant which is encoded as ‘Complemento d’Agente’ in the passive, introduced by the preposition ‘da’, and as Subject in the active, if the clause already has a Medium I progressi fatti con la riduzione delle emissioni in un determinato settore possono essere facilmente compromessi dall’aumento delle emissioni in un altro. • If the clause has no other Medium, the participant encoded as ‘Complemento d’Agente’ in the passive, introduced by the preposition ‘da’, and as Subject in the active, is the Medium: I ragazzi hanno detto cose molto belle su di lei / Cose molto belle sono state dette su di lei dai ragazzi Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  23. Italian Ergativity / Beneficiary and Range • The Beneficiary is encoded by a Prepositional phrase with ‘a’ or an oblique pronoun. Ho dato il libro a Marco – Gli ho dato il libro - Ho lavato la faccia a Piero – Gli ho lavato la faccia - Non ho detto nulla a Giacomo – Non gli ho detto nulla • The Rangecan be encoded by a Nominal group, a prepositional phrase, an embedded clause. Ho saltato il muro di cinta – Penso spesso a Maria – Ha ammesso di esseresi sbagliato. Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  24. Text analysis • Text 1 L’effetto serra • Text 2 Annibale • Text 3 Lavoro ed energia cinetica • Text 4 Aiuto! Morde e picchia • Text analysis Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  25. Why two analyses? • The Transitivity analysis shows • In terms of what kinds of Processes experience is encoded in the texts. e.g.: Global warming text: mainly Material and Relational; Annibale: mainly Relational, Material and Behavioural; Physics textbook: Mainly Material and Mental in the Introduction, Mental and Relational in the first paragraph (foregrounding the process of teaching / learning and creating hypotetical situations); Mothers magazine: Material and Relational in the letter, Material in the Answer) Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  26. Transitivity / Ergativity: Why two analyses? • What participants are involved, and what roles they are assigned e.g.: Global warming: physical phenomena as Initiator, Actor, Goal and Carrier; human activities as Initiator, Actor and Carrier; ‘noi’, ‘si’ and ‘IPCC’ as Senser. Annibale text: Annibale and his qualities as Actor, Behaver, Carrier and Identified; Physics textbook: abstract physical phenomena as Agent, Actor, Goal, Carrier; ‘concepts’ as Initiator and Carrier; exclusive ‘noi’ as Sayer and Inducer; inclusive ‘noi’ as Senser; Magazine article: mother’s letter: the child as Actor, Goal, Target, Senser, Carrier; his parents as Sayer, his mother as Goal and Identified; expert’s answer: a child as Actor and Sayer, a child’s behaviour as Carrier and Identified Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  27. Why two analyses? • The Ergativity analysis reveals: • Which entities are encoded as the nodal participants. Global warming: mainly physical phenomena, but also human activities and scientists; Annibale text: Annibale; Physics textbook: physical abstract phenomena and the text’s author and readers; Magazine article: the specific child and his parents in the mother’s letter, a child and his behaviour in the answer. Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  28. Why two analyses? • Which entities are encoded as Agent, i.e, as external causes of the events involving the participants which are encoded as Medium e.g., Global warming: greenhouse gases, human activities and greenhouse gas emissions; Annibale: Annibale and no exhausting activity; physics textbook: physical phenomena, the concepts which are going to be studied and the text’s author, mainly in the introduction (physical phenomena and impersonal ‘si’ in the first paragraph) ; Magazine: the child and his parents in the letter; a child and parents in the answer. Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  29. Why two analyses? • Whether processes are encoded as happenings (Middle clauses) or actions (effective clauses) Effective clauses are more frequent in the first excerpt from the physics textbook and in the Magazine’s answer (about half of the processes are Effective). They are the least frequent in the second excerpt from the physics textbook Effetto serra: 7/30 = about ¼ Annibale: 4/20 = ¼ Physics I: 6/13 = about ½ Physics II: 2/14 = about 1/7 Magazine I: 5/19= about ¼ Magazine II: 5/13 = between ½ and 1/3 Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  30. Why two analyses? • Another aspect which the transitivity analysis can reveal is whether the Ergative (causation) or the Transitive (action-and-impact) model of reality is foregrounded. • According to Halliday and Matthiessen (2004: 285), the Ergative model is foregrounded in scientific English. When Effective Material clauses consist of an Agent/Initiator and a Medium/Actor, we can say that the Causation model is foregrounded. In the Global warming text, there is one analytical causative construction and one construction with an ergative verb. The other 5 transitive Material processes have the Actor as Agent – the action-and-impact model is foregrounded In the Physics textbook chapter introduction, there are 4 analytical causative constructions, one of which also has an ergative verb (ampliare), and just two effective Material clauses with the Actor as Agent, both in embedded clauses – the causation model is foregrounded In the first paragraph from physics textbook, there are just two effective Material processes, with the Actor as Agent. Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  31. Why two analyses? • All in all, a joint analysis of Transitivity and Ergativity can reveal how reality is construed and reflected in texts in terms of: • Kinds of processes and participants • Actions vs. happenings • Action-and-impact vs. causation • Participants which are crucially involved vs. participants which cause events to happen or which impact other entities Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  32. Final remarks • Further study and corpus investigation required • To complete the model and solve some open issues (e.g., Identifying possessive processes; Medium in Mental processes; Medium and Agent or Range in Identifying clauses); • To establish whether the Causation model is as important in Italian as it is in English, in what regeisters it is foregrounded and the respective role of Ergative verbs and Analytical causative constructions therein; • To explain the phenomenon of the ‘inaccusative construction’ in Italian; • To correct anything incorrect or wrong in this first description of Italian transitivity Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  33. Bibliography / 1 • Caffarel, A., 1997 ‘Models of transitivity in French: a systemic-functional interpretation’, in Simon-Vanderbergen et al., eds, Reconnecting Language. Morpholgy and Syntax in Functional Perspectives, Benjamins: Amsterdam, 249-256. • Davidse, K., 1992, ‘Transitive/ergative: The Janus-headed grammar of actions and events’. In M. Davies and L. Ravelli (eds.), Advances in Systemic Linguistics. London: Pinter, 105-135 • Dixon, R. M. W., 1994, Ergativity, Cambridge: CUP • Eggins, S., 2004, An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics, London, New York: Continuum, pp. 206-253 • Halliday, M.A.K., 1971, “Linguistic function and literary style. An Inquiry into the Language of William Golding’s The Inheritors”, in S. Chatman (ed.), Literary Style: A Symposium. London and New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 330-365 • Halliday, M.A.K., [1987] 2003, ‘Langauge and the order of nature’, in Webster, J. (ed.), The Collected Works of M. A. K. Halliday, Volume 3: On Language and Linguistics, London: Continuum 2003, 116-138 Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  34. Bibliography / 2 • Halliday, M.A.K., Matthiessen, C.M.I.M., Construing Experience through Meaning: a language-based approach to cognition. London: Continuum, 1999. • Halliday, M.A.K. and Matthiessen, C.M.I.M, 2004, An Introduction to Functional Grammar, London: Arnold, 2004 • Hasan, R. and Fries, P.H., eds, On Subject and theme: a discourse functional perspective, Amsterdam: Benjamins, 1995: xiii-xlv • Martin, J. R., ‘Transitivity in Tagalog: a Functional Interpretation of Case’, in Berry et al., eds, Meaning and Form: Systemic Functional Interpretations, ed. by M. Berry, C. Butler, R. Fawcett, G. Huang, Norwood: Ablex, 1996, 229-296. • McGregor, W., 1990, ‘Language and Ideology of a Police Tracker Story in Goonyiandi’, in Halliday et al., eds, Learning, Keeping and Using Language: selected papers from the eigth world congress of applied linguistics, Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp. 175-188 Silvia Samiolo - Padua

  35. Bibliography / 3 • McGregor, W., 2002, ‘Ergative and Accusative Patterning in Warrwa’, in K. Davidse and B. Lamiroy (eds), The Nominative and Accusative and their counterparts. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing Company, 131-173. • Renzi, l., G. Salvi and A. Cardinaletti (eds), 1995, Grande Grammatica Italiana di Consultazione, Vol, III: Tipi di Frase, Deissi, Formazione delle Parole, Bologna: Il Mulino, pp. 37-127 • Salvi, G. and Vanelli, L., 2004, Nuova Grammatica Italiana, Bologna: Il Mulino, pp. 26-78 • Taylor Torsello, C., 1992, English in Discourse: a course for language specialists, II. Padua: CLEUP Silvia Samiolo - Padua