This paper deals with various aspects of the use of the subjunctive in spoken Italian. Firstly, a brief overview is provided of the interplay of linguistic and extra-linguistic factors underlying the selection of the subjunctive in various syntactic structures. Special attention is paid to the differences in subjunctive use in factual and non-factual contexts, pointing out that the former are less studied and less affected by normative injunctions than the latter. The focus then falls on factual contexts, in particular subordinate clauses which depend on factive and semi-factive governors. The investigation is based on KIParla, a corpus of spoken Italian consisting of different types of interactions with speakers of various origins and social backgrounds. It is argued that in the factual context at hand the subjunctive fulfills a specific set of functions, mostly related to the speaker’s stance towards the content of the subordinate clause. Finally, a statistical analysis is performed using conditional inference trees and random forests in order to uncover the linguistic and extra-linguistic conditioning of subjunctive use. The analysis shows that in the context under observation it is only linguistic factors that significantly condition mood selection; the use of the subjunctive is substantially insensitive to socio-stylistic and geographic variation, and therefore a socially shared pattern of variation has emerged.

Sociolinguistic variation, or lack thereof, in the use of the Italian subjunctive: mood selection with factive and semifactive governors

Silvia Ballarè
2023

Abstract

This paper deals with various aspects of the use of the subjunctive in spoken Italian. Firstly, a brief overview is provided of the interplay of linguistic and extra-linguistic factors underlying the selection of the subjunctive in various syntactic structures. Special attention is paid to the differences in subjunctive use in factual and non-factual contexts, pointing out that the former are less studied and less affected by normative injunctions than the latter. The focus then falls on factual contexts, in particular subordinate clauses which depend on factive and semi-factive governors. The investigation is based on KIParla, a corpus of spoken Italian consisting of different types of interactions with speakers of various origins and social backgrounds. It is argued that in the factual context at hand the subjunctive fulfills a specific set of functions, mostly related to the speaker’s stance towards the content of the subordinate clause. Finally, a statistical analysis is performed using conditional inference trees and random forests in order to uncover the linguistic and extra-linguistic conditioning of subjunctive use. The analysis shows that in the context under observation it is only linguistic factors that significantly condition mood selection; the use of the subjunctive is substantially insensitive to socio-stylistic and geographic variation, and therefore a socially shared pattern of variation has emerged.
2023
Massimo Cerruti; Silvia Ballarè
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/935221
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