Author Archive

Colloquium Friday Feb. 7 at 3:30PM: Boris Harizanov

Boris Harizanov (UC Santa Cruz) will give a colloquium on Friday February 7 at 3:30PM in the Greenberg Room. A departmental social will follow.

On the mapping from syntax to morphophonology

What are the atoms of syntax and how do they correspond to words? In this talk I address this question by documenting a certain kind of mismatch between the set of objects that syntax manipulates and morphophonological words. In particular, I provide novel empirical evidence from Bulgarian denominal adjectives that certain parts of words can behave syntactically as (non-branching) phrases. The nominal component of these denominal adjectives is syntactically active in ways expected of typical nominal phrases with respect to their thematic interpretation, anaphoric properties, and interaction with syntactic movement dependencies.

However, these denominal adjectives exhibit a number of adjectival characteristics as well. I attribute this kind of mismatch to the application of Morphological Merger (cf. Marantz 1981), an operation that is part of the mapping procedure from syntax to morphophonology. Consequently, I treat denominal adjectives as underlying nominal phrases that are converted into adjectives by Morphological Merger in the course of the derivation, as part of the word formation process which combines a nominal phrase with adjectivizing derivational morphology.

This approach results in the syntactic decomposition of morphophonological words, which leads to a syntactic treatment of at least some aspects of word formation: syntactic objects realized as parts of words and those realized as autonomous words do not necessarily differ for the purposes of syntax. The present investigation contributes to a long line of research on what have traditionally been viewed as mechanisms of syntactic word formation, such as head-to-head movement (Baker 1985, 1988) and merger under adjacency (Marantz 1981, 1988).

Look who’s talking!, NWAV addendum

We inadvertently missed an important item in last week’s Look Who’s Talking! segment:

  • At NWAV43 this weekend, John R. Rickford and Sharese King will present “Rachel Jeantel’s Testimony in the Zimmerman case:  Descriptive, Theoretical and Applied Linguistics Perspectives”.