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

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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLa lingua e i parlanti
Subtitle of host publicationStudi e ricerche di linguistica
EditorsLeonardo M. Savoia, Benedetta Baldi
Place of PublicationAlessandria, Italy
PublisherDell'Orso (Alessandria)
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)978-88-6274-000-0
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameLingua e società. Percorsi di studio


  • Agreement
  • Mass/count distinction
  • Nominal class
  • Gender
  • Neuter


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