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Verbicaro is a northern Calabrian village of about 3100 inhabitants, located in the province of Cosenza.


Verbicarese is a southern Italian dialect lying within the Lausberg area. Contrary to the majority of southern dialects, Verbicarese is not affected by generalized centralization of postonic vowels, as it maintains final -a at least in prepausal position and under focus. This allows to detect gender agreement whenever the controller is feminine or, with conservative speakers, neuter plural. The neuter a-plural marker (1) of Verbicarese is the direct outcome of Latin neuter plural.


the arm(N).PL long.N.PL

As a matter of fact, conservative Verbicarese is the only Romance variety known so far to preserve the gender agreement conditions once common in the early Middle Ages for Romance languages displaying three target and controller genders (M, F, N).

However, orthogonal conditions affect the distribution of overt agreement markers. Gender marking is not canonical since the triple opposition is displayed only for plural and only for metaphonic adjectives. Determiners and personal pronouns show no gender contrast in the plural, while non-metaphonic adjectives and past participles have a binary opposition (M/F vs. N). As for past participle, in particular, the type of participle (strong vs. weak, metaphonic vs. non-metaphonic) and the type of construction (unergative, unaccusative, reflexive, etc.) are relevant conditions for the agreement. For instance, direct objects trigger gender agreement on past participles if the latter are strong and metaphonetic (2a vs 2b).  

ğğə'sɛppə 'a kˈkɔ:ta/*kˈkuɵtə ɖɖ 'a:čəna

Giuseppe has harvested.F.SG/*M
the grape(F).SG

ğğə'sɛppə 'a vˈvistə/*vˈvista
na kwa'tra:ra

Giuseppe has seen.non-F.SG/*F.SG a girl(F).SG

For a more detailed description of Verbicarese and its relevance to the study of agreement, please refer to the overview written by Alice Idone and Giuseppina Silvestri.


  • Höhn, G., Silvestri, G., Squillaci, M. O., (forth.) 'Greek and Romance unagreement in Calabria' Journal of Greek Linguistics
  • Lausberg, H. 1939. Die Mundarten Südlukaniens. Halle an der Saale: Max Niemeyer [Beiheft 90 Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie].
  • Ledgweway, A., Silvestri, G., 2016. 'L'accordo degli avverbi aggettivali e del participio passato nei dialetti meridionali' in P. Del Puente (ed.), Dialetti: per parlare e parlarne, Atti del IV Convegno Internazionale di Dialettologia. Rionero in V. (PZ): Calici. 
  • Loporcaro, M., G. Silvestri, 2014. 'Residui di genere neutro come categoria morfosintatticamente funzionale nell'italoromanzo meridionale', Actes électroniques du XXVII Congrès International de Linguistique et de Philologie Romanes. Nancy, July 15th-20th 2013.
  • Manzini, M., L.M. Savoia 2005. I dialetti italiani e romanci. Morfosintassi generativa. 3 vols. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso.
  • Rensch, K.-H. 1964. Beiträge zur Kenntnis nordkalabrischer Mundarten. Münster: Aschendorff.
  • Silvestri, G., 2014. 'Casi di genitivo non preposizionale in Italo-Romanzo' in P. Del Puente (ed.), Dialetti: per parlare e parlarne, Atti del III Convegno Internazionale di dialettologia, Potenza-Tito, 4-5 novembre 2012. Rionero in V. (PZ): Calici. 
  • Silvestri, G., 2016. 'Adverb and participle agreement: for a parameter hierarchy in Italo-Romance microvariation' in E. Bidese, F. Cognola, M. C. Moroni (eds.), Theoretical Approaches to Linguistic Variation. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, 98-118.
  • Silvestri, G., 2016. 'Possessivi e partitivi nei dialetti italo-romanzi dell'Area Lausberg' La lingua italiana. Storia, struttura, testi 12, 127-144.



  • Idone, A. 2018. ‘Il progetto The Zurich Database of Agreement in Italo-Romance’ in G. Marcato (ed.), Dialetto e società.Presentazione lavori in corso. Padova: Cleup, 15-22.
  • Idone, A. In preparation. Morfosintassi dell’accordo nelle varietà calabresi meridionali. PhD thesis.
  • Loporcaro, M. 2018. Gender from Latin to Romance: history, geography, typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Loporcaro, M. & G. Silvestri. 2011. 'Vocalismo finale atono e morfosintassi dell’accordo participiale in due varietà generazionali del dialetto di Verbicaro (provincia di Cosenza)' Revue de Linguistique Romane 75: 325-356.
  • Loporcaro, M. & G. Silvestri 2015. 'Accordo al neutro plurale nel dialetto di Verbicaro (Cosenza)' L'Italia dialettale 76: 63-81.
  • Idone, A. 2017. 'The Zurich Database of Agreement in Italo-Romance. Computare la variazione' Conference Dialetto e società, Sappada/Plodn (Bl) 3-7 July 2017.
  • Idone, A. 2017. 'Agreement patterns in Verbicarese: an insight on variation among generations' workshop Unlocking new data: Linguistic typology as a key to agreement variation, University of Zurich, 9 October 2017.