## Underspecification in the semantics of word formation : the case of denominal verbs of removal in Italian

2006
##### Authors
Heusinger, Klaus von
Journal article
Published
##### Published in
Linguistics ; 44 (2006), 6. - pp. 1165-1194. - ISSN 0024-3949. - eISSN 1613-396X
##### Abstract
This article analyzes a case of Italian word formation in which the semantics of the derived words appears to contain mutually exclusive ambiguities. Italian productively derives verbs of removal from nouns. These verbs have the general semantic form A removes X from Y. There are two subtypes that differ in whether the nominal base is taken to be the figure or the ground: scremare ‘to skim’ (crema ‘cream’) is a figure verb, and scarcerare ‘to release from prison’ (carcere ‘prison’) is a ground verb. Current analyses are at a loss to give a uniform account for the semantics of derivational processes of these two kinds. In this article, such an analysis is proposed. It is based upon the model of lexical semantics known as two-level semantics. Two-level semantics makes a distinction between a layer of meaning, which is defined by grammar, and a level of interpretation, which is based upon conceptual knowledge. We propose that the derivation of Italian denominal verbs of removal of both types starts from a single underspecified representation, which is then specified at the conceptual level; depending on the concept type of the base, the denominal verb is either a figure verb or a ground verb. This study is an example of how the semantics of language-specific morphology may be embedded in cognitive structure.
##### Subject (DDC)
440 Frenche, Romance Languages General
##### Cite This
ISO 690HEUSINGER, Klaus von, Christoph SCHWARZE, 2006. Underspecification in the semantics of word formation : the case of denominal verbs of removal in Italian. In: Linguistics. 44(6), pp. 1165-1194. ISSN 0024-3949. eISSN 1613-396X. Available under: doi: 10.1515/LING.2006.038
BibTex
@article{Heusinger2006-01-01Under-46143,
year={2006},
doi={10.1515/LING.2006.038},
title={Underspecification in the semantics of word formation : the case of denominal verbs of removal in Italian},
number={6},
volume={44},
issn={0024-3949},
journal={Linguistics},
pages={1165--1194},
author={Heusinger, Klaus von and Schwarze, Christoph}
}

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Yes
Yes