Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

N morphology and its interpretation: the neuter in Central Italian varieties and its implications

Ludovico Franco , M. Rita Manzini, Leonardo M. Savoia


We characterize Romance inflectional class morphology in Nouns as endowed with a semantic content, providing evidence about its active involvement at the syntax-semantic interface. We argue that the so-called neuter of Central Italian dialects involves coding of the mass/count distinction, which can in turn be interpreted as the reflex of a more primitive property, opposes non-individual content to instances of individual denotation. Indeed the -o ‘neuter’ inflection of Central Italian varieties is compatible not only with mass nouns but also with eventive contents and with the invariable inflections found with perfect participles of unergative/transitive verbs. We show that mass vs. count semantic content is available in other Indo-European languages and in genetically unrelated languages through nominal class morphology supporting the idea that nominal class is a classifier.

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