When Morphology 'Feeds' Syntax: Remarks on Noun > Adjective Conversion in Italian Appositive Compounds
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Some formations that have always been classified as appositive compounds without any relevant objection exhibit, in a typological perspective, some properties that are unusual for compounds. That is the case in such alleged compounds as Italian riunione fiume 'very long meeting', lit. 'meeting river'. In these compounds, the non head constituents belong to a closed class of words that always occupy the second position in a compound structure, and that undergo a metaphorical reinterpretation. Moreover, they occasionally occur in the superlative form and agree in number with the head. Furthermore, these compounds can occur with adjectival modifiers in between. The hypothesis defended in this paper is that these compounds can acquire a syntactic status, usually after a sort of semantic (and formal) reanalysis, and that the second constituent can be considered an adjective. The occurrences of such compounds, extracted from corpora of contemporary Italian, are analysed within the framework called 'Typological theory of markedness', in order to demonstrate that some defective features with respect to the behaviour of typical Italian adjectives are not sufficient to deny the adjectival character of their non head constituents.
Selected Proceedings of the 6th Décembrettes: Morphology in Bordeaux
edited by Fabio Montermini, Gilles Boyé, and Jesse Tseng
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