Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
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We demonstrate that Old Italian had a three-gender system within which the neuter still qualified as a fully fledged gender value. To substantiate this claim, we adduce evidence showing that (a) Old Italian had three distinct sets of controllers, each of which selected a separate agreement pattern; (b) to each one of those three controller sets, including the neuter, nouns were assigned belonging to different productive inflectional classes and (c) the neuter still selected at least one dedicated agreement formative, thereby still displaying traces of its original status as a target gender. This novel evidence from Old Italian squares well with what is known about past stages of other Romance varieties. Also, we briefly address the consequences of our results both for a reconstruction of the Latin-Romance transition and, more broadly, for the theoretical and methodological approach to the study of the diachronic development of gender systems.


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