Syncretism and Neutralization in the Marking of Romance Object Agreement<sup>*</sup>

Michele Loporcaro

in Morphological Autonomy

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199589982
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191728884 | DOI:
                             Syncretism and Neutralization in the Marking of Romance Object Agreement*

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The chapter focuses on the loss of distinctions observed in the past participle paradigms across Romance. Different instances of loss of distinctions are classified into syncretism, neutralization, and uninflectedness, following Baerman et al. (2005). From inspection of Romance dialect variation, it comes out that the feminine singular is the most syncretism‐resistant form, which results from combination of the tendencies for number to be syncretic in the masculine, and gender in the plural. The Romance data further show that syncretism is best analysed as operating globally over the paradigm, rather than over each specific feature. Under that view, implicational relations obtaining among different syncretic patterns can be captured in a way similar to morphomic partition classes in verb inflection (Maiden 1992; 2003; Pirrelli & Battista 2000).

Keywords: uninflectedness; Romance gender systems; number, hierarchy; Romance dialectal variation

Chapter.  9113 words. 

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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