Indefinite determiners in Central Italian dialects In this paper, we

Indefinite determiners in Central Italian dialects
In this paper, we discuss the morphosyntax and the diatopic distribution in Italian
dialects of so-called “partitive articles”, which we refer to as indefinite determiners.
We show that differently from what is generally held (e.g. AIS: 637, 1037, 1343; Rohlfs
1968:119; Renzi 1997:163), indefinite determiners are present in Central Italian
dialects (Marche and Umbria) although limited to plural countable nouns.
These dialects, displaying an intermediate behaviour between Northern dialects (with
partitive clitics and indefinite determiners with both plural countable and singular mass
nouns) and Southern dialects (with partitive clitics but no indefinite determiners), will
enable us to formulate new hypotheses about the categorial status and the syntactic
distribution of indefinite determiners.
We will claim that:
1) at no level of representation, indefinite determiners can be analysed as
“preposition + article” introducing the partitive complement of a null quantifier
(differently from Chierchia 1998 and Zamparelli 2008);
2) indefinite determiners are the result of fusion between the uninflected indefinite
determiner /d(e)/ in SpecDP and the overt realisation of the nominal features
gender and number in D;
3) the fused structure is also found with the Italian distal demonstrative quel ‘that’
and prenominal adjective bel ‘nice’ (Cardinaletti and Giusti 2011, 2014);
4) there is a correlation between the presence of the indefinite determiner in the
lexical inventory of a certain variety and the morphological form of the definite
article (il vs. lo, etc.);
5) in this framework, the first occurrences of the uninflected indefinite determiner
de in Old Italian can be analysed as being parallel to Scandinavian double
definiteness occurring with prenominal adjectives (cf. Old Italian di grandi parole
e graziose (Tesoro volgarizzato) (Renzi 2010: 346, Rohlfs 1968:117).
AIS – Jahberg K. e J. Jud. 1928-40 Sach- und Sprachatlas Italiens und der
Südschweiz, 8 voll., Zofinger, Ringier.
Cardinaletti A. e G. Giusti. 2011. L'opzionalità alle interfacce sintassi - morfologia –
fonologia. In G. Massariello Merzagora e S. Dal Maso (a cura di), I luoghi della
traduzione. Le interfacce, in Società di Linguistica italiana, Roma, Bulzoni, vol.
SLI 54, 865-879.
Cardinaletti A. e G. Giusti. 2014. Cartography and optional feature realization in the
Nominal Expression, in U. Shlonsky (ed.), Beyond functional sequence, OUP.
Chierchia G. 1998. Partitives, reference to kinds and semantic variation, in Lawson
Aaron (ed.), Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory, Vol. VII, Ithaca,
CLC Publications, 73-98.
Renzi L. 1997. The structure of the noun phrase. In M. Maiden e M. Parry (a cura di),
The dialects of Italy. Londra, Routledge, 162-170.
Renzi L. 2010. L’articolo. In Grammatica dell’italiano antico. Bologna, Il Mulino, 297347.
Rohlfs G. 1968. Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti. Torino,
Zamparelli R. 2008. Dei ex-machina: a note on plural / mass indefinite determiners,
Studia Linguistica 63.3, 301-327.