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Some sources say that italian plurals come from the nominative case, so "italiano" has the plural "italiani", and "italiana" has the plural "italiane".

However some sources say that the words in italian come from accusative, just like in other romance languages. So "carro" (from latin carrum) has the plural "carri" (from latin carros > carroi > carri), and "rosa" (from latin rosam) has the plural "rose" (from latin rosas > rosai > rose). This sound change can justify why the plural of "amica" is "amiche" and not "*amice" (amicas > amicai > amiche, preserving the [k]). However it could be a hypercorrection considering that the singular keeps the [k] sound. Another word that may prove this accusative claim is the word "noi", from latin "nos", it's the same sound change. And the last point is that if a masculine word came from the nominative case, it would come from a "-us" ending, not a "-um" ending, so "carro" would come from "carrus", so it would be something like "*carros", maybe "*carroi" (> "carri"). Yet, nothing forbids, I believe, the fact that only the plural may have come from nominative, while the singular may have come from accusative. So, what do scholars say? Which theory is probably right?

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    Nothing forbids it, but the fact that the plural derived from the accusative in all other Romance languages, plus the fact that carros > *carroj > carri is a perfectly regular sound change (see this answer of mine for more details) makes me basically convinced of it. Note that a very similar phenomenon happened in the second person singular of verbs (where we can tell that it comes from final -oj because of monosyllabic verbs where the glide survived). – Denis Nardin May 31 at 10:33
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    For what is worth, Martin Maiden in his Linguistic History of Italian endorses the derivation from the accusative (2.12). He makes in particular the point that the only plurals where the palatalization occurs are cultismos, with exactly three exceptions (amici, nemici and porci) – Denis Nardin May 31 at 10:33
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    To my knowledge, it’s fairly universally accepted that the plurals come from the accusative (with perhaps a bit of influence from a few nominatives here and there, something about the third declension, if memory serves). Some singulars sort of have to be nominatives, though, like uomo, which I don’t think can be sensibly derived from hominem if the plural uomini is to be from homines. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 31 at 13:28
  • As a general consideration, one should not rule out that once a pattern was established for a sizable number of words, other words could have followed that pattern even if they did not meet the formal preconditions. This has happened eg in the German Umlaut which was originally limited to words with an /i/ in a syllable following the stressed one; later a number of words obtained umlaut by way of analogy. – John Frazer Jun 3 at 8:05

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