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Distributed Morphology Today

Distributed Morphology Today: Morphemes for Morris Halle

Ora Matushansky
Alec Marantz
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Distributed Morphology Today
    Book Description:

    This collection offers a snapshot of current research in Distributed Morphology, highlighting the lasting influence of Morris Halle, a pioneer in generative linguistics. Distributed Morphology, which integrates the morphological with the syntactic, originated in Halle's work. These essays, written to mark his 90th birthday, make original theoretical contributions to the field and emphasize Halle's foundational contributions to the study of morphology.The authors primarily focus on the issues of locality, exploring the tight connection of morphology to phonology, syntax and semantics that lies at the core of Distributed Morphology. The nature of phases, the notion of a morpho-syntactic feature, allomorphy and exponence, the synthetic/analytic alternation, stress assignment, and syntactic agreement are all shown to link to more than one grammatical module.Animated discussion with students has been central to Halle's research, and the development of Distributed Morphology has been shaped and continued by his students, many of whom have contributed to this volume. Halle's support, advice, and enthusiasm encouraged the research exemplified here. In the Hallean tradition, these papers are sure to inspire all generations of morphologists.ContributorsKarlos Arregi, Jonathan David Bobaljik, Eulàlia Bonet, David Embick, Daniel Harbour, Heidi Harley, Alec Marantz, Tatjana Marvin, Ora Matushansky, Martha McGinnis, Andrew Nevins, Rolf Noyer, Isabel Oltra-Massuet, Mercedes Tubino Blanco, Susi Wurmbrand

    eISBN: 978-0-262-31457-2
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Morris, Distributed: An Introduction
    (pp. vii-xiv)
    Alec Marantz and Ora Matushansky

    This Festschrift honors Morris Halle, on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday, for his many foundational and lasting contributions to our understanding of morphology. Morris projects such a giant presence in linguistics in general and in morphology specifically that we, as his students, felt we could only attempt to honor a small, particular chapter in his linguistic life, that of a founder of the theory of Distributed Morphology. From his earliest work on Russian and English phonology, Morris has made major advances in morphology and has advised PhD students on work that has proved foundational in the field—in particular...

  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. 1 Variability and Allomorphy in the Morphosyntax of Catalan Past Perfective
    (pp. 1-20)
    Isabel Oltra-Massuet

    The past perfective in Catalan illustrates a case ofLabovian variability(Labov 1969 and related work) in that it shows up to three different forms (1): a synthetic form (S), spoken in some varieties of Valencian, Rossellonese, and Balearic Catalan (Majorcan and Ibizan) (1a); and two analytic forms, the standard (A1), which contains an inflected form historically derived from the present tense of the verbgoand the infinitive of the corresponding verb (1b); and a nonstandard variant (A2) heard all over the Catalan-speaking area, whose first element resembles the synthetic past (1c). These forms do not express different lexical...

  6. 2 Phonological and Morphological Interaction in Proto-Indo-European Accentuation
    (pp. 21-38)
    Rolf Noyer

    The reconstruction of the grammar of word accentuation in Proto-Indo-European (PIE) has long been a central topic in historical linguistics, as well as the focus of a number of studies within generative phonology of the daughter languages that preserve relicts of the anterior system (Halle and Kiparsky 1977; Halle and Vergnaud 1987). Within traditional historical linguistics a particular reconstruction of PIE accentuation, based principally on the work of Warren Cowgill, Jochem Schindler, and Helmut Rix from the mid-1970s onward (e.g., Schindler 1972, 1975a, 1975b; Rix et al. 2001), has been accepted as a standard working hypothesis in much current research....

  7. 3 Agree and Fission in Georgian Plurals
    (pp. 39-58)
    Martha McGinnis

    One of Morris Halle’s many lasting contributions to the study of morphology is his elaboration of a principled relationship between morphology and syntax. In particular, his work in Distributed Morphology argues that syntactic nodes provide the domains within which morphological disjunctivity obtains (Halle and Marantz 1993, 1994; Halle 1997a, inter alia). More specified Vocabulary Items outrank less specified ones in the competition to spell out ordischargethe features of a given syntactic node. In the usual case, only one item is inserted into a given node; in this case, all items competing for insertion are in a disjunctive relationship....

  8. 4 More or Better: On the Derivation of Synthetic Comparatives and Superlatives in English
    (pp. 59-78)
    Ora Matushansky

    As illustrated in (1), English comparatives and superlatives can be synthetic, derived with the suffixes -erand -st, respectively, or analytic, requiring the freestanding morphemesmoreandmost. While in some syntactic environments, such as metalinguistic comparison (see Bresnan 1973 and Kennedy 1999, among others), only analytic forms are possible, generally only “short” adjectives allow synthetic forms:

    (1) a. smarter, tallest, simplest, shallower…

    b. most intelligent, more prudent, most splendid, more beautiful…

    It is a standard assumption (see, e.g., Emonds 1976), which I also adopt here, that there is no interpretational difference between the bound morphemes -erand -ston...

  9. 5 Is Word Structure Relevant for Stress Assignment?
    (pp. 79-94)
    Tatjana Marvin

    In this chapter, I compare two different positions as to the relevance of structure when it comes to stress assignment in English derived words: the “classic derivational” and the optimality theory (OT hereafter) approach. The central issue is how to account for the preservation of stress (and vowel quality) in English affixation and whether the structure of derived words plays any role in the process. As is well known, words in English may but need not change the position of primary stress when affixed. In (1) the wordgovernmentis derived from the wordgovernand the position of primary...

  10. 6 Locality Domains for Contextual Allomorphy across the Interfaces
    (pp. 95-116)
    Alec Marantz

    The origins of Distributed Morphology can be traced to an argument Morris Halle and I had when I arrived (back) at MIT to teach in the fall of 1990. I came with “lexicalist” assumptions about morphology, as worked out for example in Lieber 1992—not the notion that words were built in the lexicon but rather the notion that lexical items, identified by their phonology, brought syntactic and morphological features with them into the derivation. Morris was working out a proposal that morphemes with suppletive (phonologically unrelated) allomorphs, like the English past-tense morpheme, were “abstract,” as he put it, finding...

  11. 7 Cycles, Vocabulary Items, and Stem Forms in Hiaki
    (pp. 117-134)
    Heidi Harley and Mercedes Tubino Blanco

    The analysis of arbitrary morphological classes has a number of architectural implications in Distributed Morphology (Halle and Marantz 1993). There is no central repository of Saussurean ‘words’ in the framework—no soundmeaning pairings that are the building blocks for both phonological and semantic sentence-level representations. Instead, there are separate lists. One list contains all syntactic and semantic information necessary for the derivation of a well-formed LF representation, and forms the input to the syntactic derivation. A second list, the Vocabulary, describes the phonological realizations that are inserted as exponents of particular syntactic terminal nodes, following all syntactic operations. This raises...

  12. 8 ʺNot Plusʺ Isnʹt ʺNot Thereʺ: Bivalence in Person, Number, and Gender
    (pp. 135-150)
    Daniel Harbour

    When he was young, Morris Halle taught himself to write backwards (as did I). His method involved decomposing letters into their constituent ascenders, descenders, loops, and humps, and mastering reversal just of this smaller set of primitives. In consequence, an examination of features, the primitives of linguistic representations, is a fitting tribute both to Morris’s long and ongoing contributions to linguistics and to the personality evident in his earliest intellectual excursions.

    Fundamental to features is the often-neglected issue of valence (cf, Halle 1957 on phonology). Can features be explicitly denied and asserted, or is only assertion explicit, with negation implied...

  13. 9 Morphemes and Morphophonological Loci
    (pp. 151-166)
    David Embick

    Some questions in linguistics have persisted through hosts of theoretical changes. The conflict between affixless and morpheme-based theories raises questions of this type. In its contemporary incarnation, at least two significant objections raised against affixless theories are that they (i) render the interface between syntax and morphology opaque, and (ii) have serious difficulties with the analysis of blocking (e.g., Halle 1990; Noyer 1992; Marantz 1992; Halle and Marantz 1993; Embick 2000; Embick and Halle 2005; Embick and Marantz 2008). Nevertheless, the tension between morpheme-based and affixless theories is as relevant as ever (see section 9.3). My objective here is to...

  14. 10 Agreement in Two Steps (at Least)
    (pp. 167-184)
    Eulàlia Bonet

    In many languages the elements of a DP agree with a head noun (nominal concord). This is illustrated in (1) with an example from Spanish, where there is gender and number concord with the head noun, which appears in boldface.

    (1) Estas pequeñas casas abandonadas

    ‘these small abandoned houses’

    However, concord seems to fail in many languages for some positions, a phenomenon that has been calledlazy concord(see Haiman and Benincà 1992; Rasom 2008). In most cases, lazy concord affects prenominal elements, not postnominal ones, as the example in (2) from Moroccan Arabic illustrates (data...

  15. 11 Suspension across Domains
    (pp. 185-198)
    Jonathan David Bobaljik and Susi Wurmbrand

    The notion of a cyclic derivation, defining (sub)domains in a grammatical derivation to which rules apply, dates from some of the earliest work in modern linguistics and is a recurring theme in the work of Morris Halle (see, famously, Chomsky and Halle 1968). In phonology, it is recognized that not all morpheme concatenation triggers cyclic rule application, but that certain morphemes are designated triggers of cyclic rules (see, e.g., Halle and Vergnaud 1987 for one approach). A related idea pervades the history of syntax, holding that there are cyclic domains defined (at least in part) with reference to particular heads/projections,...

  16. 12 Contextual Neutralization and the Elsewhere Principle
    (pp. 199-222)
    Karlos Arregi and Andrew Nevins

    Against the setting of this book, our aim is to contextualize the present chapter within the background of developments in phonological and morphological theory of the last forty-odd years, largely those arising from contributions by Morris Halle and his collaborators. The notions of specificity-based competition and blocking, with their indubitable Pāninian pedigree, found their way into modern generative linguistics with the introduction of the Elsewhere Principle in Kiparsky 1973, the goal of which was an attempt to reduce extrinsic ordering in Chomsky and Halle 1968. The intuition behind such a principle was that certain rules (or more broadly, operations that...

  17. References
    (pp. 223-250)
  18. Contributors
    (pp. 251-252)
  19. Author Index
    (pp. 253-254)
  20. Subject Index
    (pp. 255-260)
  21. Language Index
    (pp. 261-262)