Modifying suffixes in Italian and the Autonomy of Morphology

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This study addresses restrictions concerning morphological modification in modern spoken Italian &#8211; the formation of diminutives, augmentatives and pejoratives by means of modifying suffixes (MS). Three purely morphological restrictions have been found (Necker 2005, 2006): (i) de-adjectival nouns with the suffix -<i>it&#224;</i>; (ii) nouns with -<i>ismo</i>; (iii) adverbs formed with the suffix -<i>mente</i> cannot be modified by means of MS. In recent communication technologies (blogs, chat-rooms etc.), a number of apparent counter-examples are found, e.g. <i>possibilitina</i>. Should these be regarded as derived formations, they would break the above-mentioned restrictions. We advance the hypothesis that the base of e.g. <i>possibilitina</i>, is perceived as a simplex word, rather than as complex and derived, and that a morphological constraint can apply only if the base is perceived as internally structured.


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