, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 167–196 | Cite as

Gender features and interpretation: a case study

  • Orin PercusEmail author
Original Paper


Are features on nouns associated with an interpretation? This is debated in the case of number, where some say that number features on nouns are interpreted, and others say that they are a mere reflex of an interpreted feature located elsewhere. This paper looks at gender features in Italian, where the gender a noun can have is not arbitrary, and it seeks to account for the restrictions that gender seems to impose on interpretation. It argues that gender features on Italian nouns are indeed associated with an interpretation. At the same time, however, there is a special process, subject to various conditions, that has the result that in certain contexts their contribution can be ignored. The paper thus defends a view on which interpretable elements can sometimes go uninterpreted. Gender features are among the elements that can do so.


Semantics Features Italian Gender 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de Sciences du LangageUniversity of Nantes/LLING EA 3827, UFR Lettres et LangagesNantes Cedex 3France

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