Article published in:Nominal Determination: Typology, context constraints, and historical emergence
Edited by Elisabeth Stark, Elisabeth Leiss and Werner Abraham
[Studies in Language Companion Series 89] 2007
► pp. 49–71
Gender, number, and indefinite articles: About the 'typological inconsistency' of Italian
This paper discusses some typologically signifi cant correlations in nominal determination systems found in the family of Romance languages, specifi cally French, Italian, and Spanish. It proposes to reinterpret the complex system of indefi nite nominal determination in French and Italian, which both feature an indefi nite article and a partitive article, as devices of nominal classifi cation in a broad sense, marking the conceptually important distinction between a single, delimited referent and a non-delimited substance. It is argued that this classifi cation system arose when nominal declension in Latin, which differentiated these two referentially highly relevant cognitive concepts via overt gender and number affi xes, got partially or completely lost. In contrast to modern central Romance languages, like French, which require rather obligatory (indefi nite) determination in almost every argument position and have developed indefi nite articles coding countability on the level of noun phrase, modern peripheral Romance languages like Spanish allow bare arguments to a larger extent and do not possess an explicit marker of non-countability. How to position Italian in this broad typology inside the family of Romance languages will be discussed in some detail and diachronically explained by its complex evolution of its nominal paradigms.
Published online: 23 August 2007
Cited by 5 other publications
No author info given
Carlier, Anne & Béatrice Lamiroy
Cerruti, Massimo & Riccardo Regis
Dufresne, Monique, Mireille Tremblay & Rose-Marie Déchaine
Déchaine, Rose-Marie, Monique Dufresne & Mireille Tremblay
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 25 september 2022. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.