Polirematiche ‘di colore’ in italiano: uno studio quantitativo


Francesca Masini



This paper investigates the presence and use of basic color terms within Italian multiword expressions, in particular phrasal lexemes (e.g. libro bianco ‘white book’, vedere nero ‘be pessimistic’). The starting hypothesis is that most frequent color terms, especially those that are ranked higher in Berlin & Kay’s (1969) implicational hierarchy, are more widely used within multiword units. In order to test the hypothesis, data from the largest dictionary available for the Italian language are gathered, together with semi-automatically collected data from corpora, which considerably enrich the sample. The hypothesis is confirmed: more frequent, ‘higher-ranked’ color terms (viz. bianco ‘white’, nero ‘black’, rosso ‘red’) are found in a larger set of phrasal lexemes as compared to less frequent color terms.


Keywords: color terms • frequency • implicational hierarchy • Italian • multiword expressions • phrasal lexemes

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