Lexicalizing number and gender in Lunigiana

  • Knut Tarald Taraldsen University of Tromsø/CASTL
Keywords: lexicalization, the Superset Principle, nominal morphology, Italian dialects


In this article, I present an analysis of gender and number marking on nouns in a group of Italian dialects. These dialects share the property that the plural morpheme is -i- in both the feminine and the masculine gender in both declension classes. But there is an asymmetry: in contexts where plurality is marked on a determiner, the plural marking -i- does not appear on nouns or adjectives in the feminine gender, but does appear on masculine nouns and adjectives. I argue that this asymmetry can be understood once it is recognized that a vocabulary item can lexicalize more than a single terminal, and that lexicalization is governed by the Superset Principle, i.e. if the lexicon associates a vocabulary item with a feature set F, it can lexicalize any constituent with the feature set F' provided F is a superset of F'.