Kathrin Neuburger

Kathrin Neuburger, MA

PhD student in Comparative Romance Linguistics


Functions of Differential Object Marking in Romance – in particular Corsican

Study interests

  • Differential Object Marking (DOM)
  • Syntax, semantics, morphology and their interfaces
  • Generative Grammar / Minimalism
  • Variation in Romance languages


2001–2008: Studies in Italian Philology, History of Art and Spanish Philology at the Universities of Heidelberg, Havana, Rome (Roma Tre) and Berlin (Free University). Degree: Magister Artium.

2009–today: PhD student in Linguistics (Comparative Linguistics of Romance Languages) at the University of Zurich. Participant at the PhD Program "Linguistics: Linguistic Structure Linguistic Variation Linguistic History".

2009: Assistance at the chair of French Linguistics (Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Stark).

Since 2009: Assistant for the editorial staff of the Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft of the German Linguistic Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft DGfS).

Since 2010: Scholarship by Evangelisches Studienwerk e.V. Villigst


My PhD-project, Functions of Differential Object Marking in Romance – in particular Corsican, aims at finding the triggering factors for the so called Differential Object Marking (DOM) in the Romance languages and varieties and try to explain them on a semantic and syntactic level within the generative framework.

DOM is, roughly speaking, the overt marking of the direct object (DO) by means of a morphological or morphosyntactic marker triggered by multiple sometimes interacting parameters, e.g. animacy or/and definiteness or/and specificity of the direct object, verbal semantics, discourse structure. In those Romance languages, which show the phenomenon of DOM (as e.g. Spanish, Portuguese, Rhaeto-Romanic, Rumanian, Sardinian but also some southern Italian dialects and Corsican) we find a significant variation of the triggering factors.

Corsican DOM, an Italoromance variety, shows some particularities compared to the other Romance DOM Systems, as it emerges e.g. with definite objects (proper names, typonyms) and pronouns referring to human entities under a strict syntactic constraint: noun phrases or determiner phrases (NP/DP) in direct object function that already bear an overt prenominal determiner (articles, demonstratives), numeral, quantifier etc. cannot be marked additionally by the DOM-marker.

To find out more about the particularities of Corsican DOM on the basis of written and spoken data, to explain its functions and mechanisms and to put them in comparison to other Romance varieties is the goal of this project.