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Nominal evaluative suffixes in Italian

Leonardo M. Savoia • M. Rita Manzini • Ludovico Franco • Benedetta Baldi



In this article we investigate the nature of the morphological exponents in Romance languages; specifically we concentrate on the evaluative derivational morphology of nouns in Italian, specifically the diminutive (Dim) -in-, the endearing (End) -ett-, -ell-, the augmentative (Aug) -on- and the pejoratives (Pej) -acci-, -ucci-. The morpho-syntactic behaviour of evaluatives raises general theoretical and descriptive questions concerning the morphological structure of the words. Our idea is that both the inflectional morphology and the derivational one in nouns are endowed with semantic content, and we provide evidence for their active involvement at the interpretive interface. The proposal we elaborate is that evaluatives express size properties or the grading of individuals with reference to physical or culturally-determined properties and can be understood as predicates that contribute to restricting the argumental variable of the root.

Keywords: nominal morphology • inflection • evaluatives • evaluatives ordering

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