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Conference Information



Full Title: The Nature of Nominal Categories

      
Location: London, Ontario, Canada
Start Date: 02-May-2014 - 04-May-2014
Contact: Ileana Paul
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: The Nature of Nominal Categories: Mass vs. Count Nouns in Romance
Organized by Anna Moro and Ivona Kucerova

There is a growing body of evidence relating the emergence of gender to the nature of nominal categories, such as animacy or number. Romance dialects present an exciting ground for such an investigation because of the rise of a “third” gender category associated with mass nouns and other number-less phrase such as infinitival nouns, be it in traditional dialects or in a contact environment. Yet, the connection is not a straightforward one because the overall gender-number system plays out rather differently in Italo-Romance versus Ibero-Romance dialects. The underlying intuition present in the current literature is that certain semantic and structural properties must be in place for the rise of the “third” gender category to take place, but as far as we can tell its exact nature is not well understood.

The questions that arise include but are not limited to:

- Is there a universal hierarchy of nominal features that determine under what conditions a new category can emerge?
- Or does the surface variation reflects a genuine language-specific featural set up, restricted only by more general structural and semantic properties such as phasehood or semantic types?
- Is the same or similar type of feature variation attested in other languages, or is it specific to Romance?
Linguistic Subfield: Semantics; Syntax
Subject Language Family: Romance
LL Issue: 24.3860

This is a session of the following meeting:
Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages

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