Patterns for differential object marking in the history of Romanian

  • Virginia Hill University of New Brunswick - Saint John
  • Alexandru Mardale INALCO, Paris
Keywords: differential object marking, Old Romanian, DP structure


This paper starts from the observation that, diachronically, the differential marking of direct objects in Romanian went through different stages, each of which attests to a different syntactic mechanism; i.e., from no marking to a stage with marking through either clitic doubling (CD) or differential particles (DOM) and further to a stage where the marking triggers both CD and DOM. The proposal is that these changes arise from the interaction between a major parametric shift at the clause structure level and an idiosyncratic change within the nominal phrase. That is, CD is an epiphenomenon of a major shift that concerns the location of discourse agreement features (i.e., from C to T); whereas the transition from DOM to CD/DOM is facilitated by the concurrent bleaching and reanalysis of the DOM particle within the nominal phrase.