[Lingtyp] Lexical nominalisation of property concepts

Luigi Talamo luigi.talamo at unibg.it
Thu Jun 9 13:14:25 UTC 2016

Dear all,
I am conducting a research on the lexical nominalisation of property
concepts in contemporary Italian. My study involves two types of
nominalisation strategy, affixation such as bello `beautiful' -> bell-ezza
`beauty (abstract concept)' and zero-marking ('conversion'), such as bello
(adj) -> `(il) bello' -> `the beautiful person', `beauty (abstract
concept)' and `what is beautiful about something'.
Drawing mostly from 'Leipzig Questionnaire On Nominalisation and mixed
Categories' (Malchukov et alii (2008)) and studies on adjectival and mixed
categories, I have elaborated a series of morpho-syntactic and semantic
parameters, which I have employed to study de-adjectival nominalizations in
actual, corpus-based contexts.
I would like to insert in my study some cross-linguistic notes on the
phenomenon, which I hope to further study from a typological perspective. I
will be glad if you can provide me some examples from your languages of
expertise. I have found some examples of de-adjectival nominalizations here
and there in grammars, but I was not able to exactly figure out which are
the parameters involved; moreover, some recent works (among others, Roy
(2010), Alexiadou et alii (2010), Alexiadou & Iordachioaia (2014)) give
interesting insights on de-adjectival nominalization, but examples are
limited to European languages.

I am particularly interested in non-European languages showing a distinct
class of adjectives; morpho-syntatic parameters include case, number,
gender, definiteness and specificity, degree, external argument structure
and, possibly, verbal parameters, which are however not very significant
for Italian de-adjectival nominalisation; semantic parameters include
referent animacy, the distinction between the nominalisation of the
adjectival 'argument' vs. the nominalisation of the adjective itself e.g.,
softie `a thing which is soft' vs. softness and the semantic type of
property concepts e.g., PHYSICAL PROPERTY or HUMAN PROPENSITY.

So, possible questions are as following:
1. Can property concepts be turned into nouns?
2. Which strategies are employed for this purpose?
3. Which parameters do de-adjectival nouns display?
4. Are there any missing values for a given parameter? For instance,
de-adjectival nouns can be only singular or definite or restricted to the
subject position.
5. Are de-adjectival nouns found in both semantic types of nominalization?
For instance, I have observed that European languages focus on the
nominalisation of the adjective itself, while argument nominalizations are
scarcely attested, limited to certain language varieties and not stable in
the lexicon.

(needless to say, questions 2 to 4 can have multiple answers, helping to
describe different patterns of property nominalisation)

Thanks in advance for your help, all the best.


PhD Program in Linguistics ('Scienze Linguistiche')
University of Bergamo and University of Pavia - Italy
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