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Detail of contribution

Auteur: Francesco GARDANI

Allogenous exaptation

Abstract/Résumé: In linguistics, exaptation is commonly understood as the evolution of certain structure and its co-optation for a new function within one and the same language (see Simon 2010: 52–53). This restriction implicit in the concept of exaptation is due to the fact that it was originally developed in evolutionary biology and has never been questioned so far. In this paper, I show that the notion of exaptation is extendable beyond the borders of a single language, presenting and discussing cross-linguistic data on borrowed formatives/lexemes which in the recipient language, are systematically re-used carrying out a function which is different from that they exerted in the source language. Accordingly, I term this phenomenon allogenous exaptation and refer to it as the (productive) use in a recipient language of re-functionalized mat-borrowed formatives. For example, Arbrësht, a variety of Albanian spoken near to Cosenza (Calabria, Italy), uses the infinitive stem of Italian loan-verbs to build the Aorist, such as in sopravivir-ti ‘he survived’ from the infinitive sopravvivere (via replacement of -ere with the very productive suffix -ire) (Breu 1991). While the exaptation of foreign formatives is a cross-linguistically well attested phenomenon in the integration of verbs (see Wohlgemuth 2009: 239), it seems to occur rarely in the integration of nouns. One of the few cases known is found in the European dialects of Romani where originally Greek inflectional formatives have been productively re-used as loan-noun formatives, as in the recent non Greek loan president-os-ke (president-LNM-DAT) ‘for the president’ (see Matras 2009: 173–174). The paper adds a new dimension to the phenomenon of exaptation by extending it to the area of language contact and borrowing, and, thus, also contributes to current research in (de)grammaticalization. References: Breu, Walter. 1991. Abweichungen vom phonetischen Prinzip bei der Integration von Lehnwörtern. In Klaus Hartenstein & Helmut Jachnow (eds), Slavistische Linguistik 1990, 36¬–69. München: Otto Sagner. Matras, Yaron. 2009. Language contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Simon, Horst J. 2010. Exaptation in der Sprachwandeltheorie. Eine Begriffspräzisierung. In Rüdiger Harnisch (ed.), Prozesse sprachlicher Verstärkung. Typen formaler Resegmentierung und semantischer Remotivierung, 41–57. Berlin: De Gruyter. Wohlgemuth, Jan. 2009. A typology of verbal borrowings. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.