The Interpretation of Indefinites with Adnominal Adjectives in the Sicilian Dialects
Indefinite nominals can typically be modified by pre- or postnominal adjectives in Romance languages. With the exception of a small group of adjectives concerning physical or moral characteristics whose meaning changes according to their pre- or postnominal use, the position of an attributive adjective does not alter its meaning. However, prenominal adjectives in a Spanish indefinite trigger its specific interpretation, thus preventing its variable reading; the same phenomenon obtains also in Catalan. The aim of this paper is to discuss specific cases in some Sicilian dialects – mainly in the dialect of Delia (province of Caltanissetta) – in order to provide further evidence of the fact that prenominal evaluative adjectives force the specific interpretation of indefinites in Romance. Since Sicilian dialects do not typically display prenominal adjectives, this paper will therefore draw on elatives to check whether Sicilian shows a parallel restriction in the postnominal position.
Keywords: Non-specific interpretation • Sicilian dialects • Qualificative adjectives • Elatives