The case of morphologically embedded general extenders
In this paper we analyse the formal and functional ‘extravagance’ of general extenders embedded within morphological schemas, either at the end of coordinate compounds, or as constituents of complex words, especially at the end of lists of complex words formed according to the same schema. After discussing two case studies from Italian (eccetera ‘etcetera’ and tutto ‘everything/all’), we conclude that complex words containing general extenders are ‘wild words’, namely ‘contextuals’ (Clark & Clark 1979) that are created to meet specific communicative needs and are meant not to be stored. As such, they serve as a strategy to create ‘ad hoc categories’ (Mauri & Sansò 2018a). The relationship of ‘wild words’ with lists is also explored and deemed crucial both for their semantic interpretation and for explaining their collocation within morphological structures.
- 2.General extenders and lists
- 3.1Case study 1: eccetera ‘etcetera’
- 3.2Case study 2: tutto ‘everything/all’
- 3.3Summing up
- 4.Theoretical discussion
- 5.Concluding remarks