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Synonymy: The unbearable ficklness of meaning

  • Autori: Mirto, I.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2010
  • Tipologia: Capitolo o Saggio (Capitolo o saggio)
  • Parole Chiave: Italian, English, negative polarity item, nominal determiner, function/content words
  • OA Link:


Standard definitions of synonymy become problematic under close scrutiny of nouns occurring in two contexts of Italian: clauses with Negative Polarity Items and noun phrases with Complex Nominal Determiners. Such nouns are non-referring expressions, do not carry literal meaning, often give rise to metaphor and intensity, and preclude decomposition into elementary semantic features as conceived in Componential Analysis. The inconsequence of semantic features and a number of syntactic constraints suggest that these nouns are best analyzed as parts of multi-word expressions working as function phrases.