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La flessione nominale dal latino alle lingue romanze
Vol. V/2003/1, pp. 87-101
Only a consideration starting from the Indo-European age offers a correct point of view to investigate the collapse of the Latin nominal flection: an observation of Late Latin on the one hand and the ancient Romance languages on the other does not allow for a penetration into the question in its complexity. Latin represents an intermediate phase between the reconstructed Indo-European and the Romances languages: the marking of the relations of the nouns with other phrase elements in the Latin type prepositions and endings coexist, while in Romances languages prepositions are prevailing (but the development is slower in some areas, and we find declensions in the most archaic phase of French and Provençal, whereas remnants of declensions survive in modern Rumanian). There are various causes for the collapse of the nominal flection: they include the need to eliminate redundancies in the ancient system (endings coexist with vowel mutation, suppletivism and displacement of stress to individuate the cases) and the fact that many new linguistic categories appear for which an expression with a preposition plus a noun is obligatory, because the inventory of case endings is already closed in the most ancient Indo-European phase.