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V-N Compounds In Italian

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Abstract

In this paper I discuss patterns of word-internal agreement. I examine Italian V-N compounds of the type <i>grattacielo</i> (scrape sky = “skyscraper”), suggesting that their morphological behavior can be accounted for if we assume that processes of agreement similar to those at the level of sentence-syntax take place below the word level. V-N compounds that contain feminine nouns of class <i>–a</i>: <i>casa, case </i>(“house, houses”) under pluralization show <i>feminine </i>morphology (<i>-e</i>), even though they are syntactically <i>masculine: </i>take masculine determiners and form derivatives as simple masculine nouns do. Yet, the masculine plural inflection (<i>-i</i>) is not allowed:<br /> <br /><i>il carica-batteria</i><i></i><br />the-MASC charge-battery<br />“the battery charger”<br /> <br /><i>I carica-batteriE / *carica-batteriI</i><br />the-MASC charge-batteries<i></i><br />“the battery chargers”<i></i><br /> <br />I show that this surprising appearance of feminine inflection is expected if agreement, viewed as as the operation of “feature sharing” (Frampton et al, 2000; Pesetsky &#38; Torrego, 2004), takes place between the pieces of the structure.

References

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