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Original scientific article

Orsolya Žagar Szentes, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Filozofski fakultet, Zagreb

 

 

Summary

The dati ’give’ (se) (refl.) + infinitive construction in Croatian has several distinct meanings/ functions: general possibility (e.g. Mobitel se vi{e ne da popraviti; lit. Mobile refl. more give. PRS.3SG repair.INF; ’The mobile phone can no longer be repaired’), various types of concession (Ivan se te{ko dao nagovoriti da ode lije~niku; lit. Ivan refl. difficult give.PTCP.SG.M persuade.INF that go.PRS.3SG doctor; ’It was difficult to convince Ivan to go to see the doctor’; Sestra nam nije dala u}i u sobu; lit. Nurse us not:be give.PTCP.SG.F enter.INF in room; ’The nurse did not let us enter the room’), the subject’s readiness/willingness (to do something) (Kako ti se dalo tako rano ustati?; lit. How you.DAT refl. give PTCP.SG.N so early get up.INF; ’How come you were willing to get up so early?’), and the subject acting indirectly through an agent (causative) (Dali smo oprati tepih, sami nismo mogli; lit. Give.PTCP.PL be wash.INF carpet, alone not:be could; ’We had the carpet washed, we couldn’t do it ourselves’). This paper describes the development of these related functions from the point of view of grammaticalization: a process whereby lexical elements in a particular linguistic context become grammatical, which may be accompanied by certain changes in their form. The semantic shifts evident from the change in the function of the dati + infinitive construction may be characterized as the first stage of grammaticalization, because they exhibit some schematization: the meaning of the verb dati shifts from a more concrete to a more abstract one. In three of the functions mentioned above (general possibility, concession, volition/willingness) the meaning of the verb dati shifts towards modality, signifying a minor reduction in the verb’s lexical autonomy. In contrast, when dati is used as a causative, the level of schematization is greater, and the meaning is almost completely grammaticalized (referring only to voice), in which case dati undergoes almost complete bleaching. Several key grammatical and functional characteristics of the dati (se) + infinitive construction are identified, and the relevant syntactic elements of each function are analyzed, including the relationship between the syntactic and logical subject, the meaning of the expression in relation to voice, the identity of the subject argument of the verb dati and the infinitive, possiblemodifying constructions and possible transformations (using da + the present tense rather than the infinitive). The paper also deals with the differences in the productivity of the construction in its various functions, as well as some small areas of overlap between particular functions within the construction in question.

 

Keywords

modal verbs, infinitive, Croatian language, grammaticalization

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