# Characteristics of the Italian language in AX Semantics

# fundamentals

Italian needs gender of nouns for determiners and this is especially important for preposition and determiner contraction. There are two gender: masculine and feminine. And there are two numbers: singular and plural. As for other Romance languages there is only one case for nouns: nominative. But for personal pronouns Italian has addionally accusative, genitive and dative.


Determiners are similar to the ones described in the grammar documenation.

grammatical name values examples
gender masculine la casa rossa (the red house)
feminine il grande porto (the big harbor)
-- -- --
number singular una casa rossa (a red house)
plural due grandi porti (two big harbors)
-- -- --
cases (noun) nominative casa (Haus)
cases (pronoun) nominative Maria sta costruendo una casa. Lui sta costruendo una casa.
(Maria is building a house. He is building a house.)
accusative Maria sta costruendo una casa. Maria lo costruisce.
(Maria is building a house. Maria builds it.)
genitive FIXME
dative Maria regala un libro a Luigi. Maria gli regala un libro.
(Maria gives Luigi a book. Maria gives him a book.)
-- -- --
adjective positions pre-noun grandi porti (large ports)
post-noun casa rossa (red house)
-- -- --
verb tenses present lui parla (he speaks)
imperfect lui parlava (he talked)
gerund parlando (speaking)
future lui parlerĂ  (he will speak)

# lexicon

# nouns

For Italian nouns the lexicon need to encode gender, preposition changes and if a determiner is present. If the lexicon entry is missing we try to find the most probable gender based on heuristics.

# examples

The lexicon entry for casa contains

  • gender: female
  • plural_form: case

The lexicon entry for Australia contains

  • gender: female
  • remove the definite determiner for the preposition in

And the lexicon entry for Malta contains

  • remove all definite determiners
  • replace preposition in with a


All lexicon entries for countries are already in the platform for Italian - so all examples below work by using the global lexicon.

# adjectives

For adjectives the lexicon can encode gender for singular and plural and the adjective position (before the noun or after the noun).

For position the default is after the noun. When an adjectives should be before the noun, this has to be encoded in the lexicon.

The most important cases, i.e. grande, is already annotated as before noun. But others may need a lexicon entry.

# verbs

The most common verbs are encoded in our software. If a verb inflects the wrong way, you should add it to the lexicon.

# container settings

We automatically join prepositions with determiners for the following prepositions: a, da, di, in and su.


refer to text about container settings written for all languages.


something about personal pronouns

# examples

# example 1

In the sentence

Stavano viaggiando dall'Australia a Parigi.
(They were traveling from Australia to Paris.)

the particle da is joined with the female definite article and the article is adapted to the following vowel a to dall'.

On our platform the settings for the container dall'Australia are: preposition="da" and determiner=definite. The lexical information about gender and the vowels following each other (dalla A -> dall'A) results automatically in correct inflection.

# example 2

When Australia is used with the particle in no article is used, i.e.

Vivono in Australia.
(They live in Australia.)

On our platform the noun-container is used the same way as in the first example: prepositon="in" and determiner=definite. The lexical information about the removal of the determiner when the preposition is in is automatically applied by using the lexicon. The determiner=definite is important for other nouns that could be inserted here, i.e. if the inserted noun is always plural (plurale tantum), then in+definiteness is changed to nelle

Vivono nelle Emirati Arabi Uniti.
(They live in the United Arab Emirates.)

# example 3

Another case here is the preposition switch from in to a for (mostly) islands. Lets use Malta as an example here. The sentence would be

Vivono a Malta.
(They live in Malta.)

so the preposition changes to a and there is no determiner. So Malta has no gender in the lexicon, but two switches: replace preposition in with a and don't use any determiners with prepositions.


add snippet with two example statements and the three test objects shown here?

# Defaults: Some best practices for Italian nouns with switches

  • If there are definite determiners (i.e. for country names) possible for a noun phrase we activate them for the container and remove the determiner via the lexicon. This assumes "with definite article" is the default.
  • The default for the preposition switch (only used for in -> a in Italian) is in as in most other languages.