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Traces of the idea of verbal valency structure in nineteenth-century grammars – This paper aims to show how K.F. Beckers’s notion of “subjektive” and “objektive Verben” (i.e. those always used with an “ergänzende Objekt”, a ‘completive object’) is a rough forerunner to the modern idea of dependency grammar. In Italy, this theoretical core was assumed by Raffaello Lambruschini in 1840 (and, after him, by the basic school grammar La grammatica del mio Felicino written by Ulisse Poggi, 1865, 18722), but with a huge trivialisation: subjective verbs were identified with intransitive verbs and objective verbs with transitive ones.
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