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Auteur: Rossella PANNAIN

Co-Auteur(s): Lucia DI PACE, Univ. di Napoli L'Orientale Anna RICCIO, Univ. di Napoli L'Orientale

The lexicalization of initialisms and acronyms and its morphological correlates in Italian and French.

Abstract/Résumé: The study, primarily based on Italian and French data, addresses the issue of the morphological integration which acronyms and initialisms undergo in the process of becoming integral part of the lexicon. First of all, the issue of definition and classification of acronyms and initialisms among different types of non-morphological word formation processes by reduction is briefly addressed. The proposed classification, which takes previous most relevant taxonomies into account, highlights the complex interaction of graphic vs. (spoken-)linguistic factors that underlies the genesis of formations by reduction. In fact, initialisms and acronyms represent the one area within reduction in which the dynamic interaction of spoken and written language can best be appreciated. Moreover, this category displays a particularly rich, varied and productive phenomenology, alongside a marked tendency towards lexicalization, entailing a transfer from the graphic to the spoken dimension, which in turn implies modifications also affecting, besides the initial graphic coding of the forms, their morphological status and their semantic content. Indexes of lexicalization are analyzed at, respectively, the graphic, phonetic, morphosyntactic and semantic level. Finally, the study focuses on a salient morphosynctatic phenomenon affecting acronyms and initialisms in their integration in the lexicon of languages like Italian and French, that is, gender (re)assignment. Data from corpora and lexicographic sources are analyzed in order to identify criteria for gender assignment in the case of both loan and native elements in the two languages. The data are contrasted both language internally, in order to identify commonalities and differences in the treatment of loan vs. native material, and comparatively, in order to point out differences in gender assignment criteria in the two languages.