An Introduction to Morphological Interfaces

  1. Syntax and morphology as separate generative systems. This introductory class gives an overview of the evidence in favor of treating morphology as separate from syntax, that is, against the idea that morphological structures are assembled in syntax through head-to-head movement. The proposed model will resemble that of Di Sciullo & Williams.

  2. Morpho-syntactic competition. This class and the next deal with the two ways in which I think morphology and syntax interact: insertion and competition. The claim about competition is that morphological merger is blocked by syntactic merger unless forced by lexical requirements and the like. Data to be discussed include synthetic compounding, root compounding, particle verbs, morphological realization of verbal idioms and polysynthesis (just a little, though).

  3. Generalized insertion. The claim about insertion is that it is a matching operation that holds between separate representations, to be contrasted with the more common idea that inserted material is a building block in/of the host representation. I will argue that this view of insertion gives a natural account of parentheticals, lexical integrity and the occurrence of phrases in words.

  4. Distributed selection. This class and the next deal with the relation between morphology and syntax on the one hand and phonology on the other. I will argue for a separation of morpho-syntax and morpho-phonology, and a system of mapping rules very much in the spirit of Sproat and others. Distributed selection is the idea that selectional properties of affixes are distributed between morpho-syntax and morpho-phonology. This determines when phrases can or cannot be embedded in words. I'll discuss phrasal affixation, zero morphology, acquisition of synthetic compounds, bracketing paradoxes that span syntax and morphology and mixed categories.

  5. Context-sensitive spell-out. The final class discusses how spell-out rules for syntactic terminals can sometimes be sensitive to elements in the immediate environment of the terminal, giving rise, for example, to the apparent formation of a word, even though no morphological structure is involved. The claim is that the domain in which context-sensitive spell-out rules apply is the prosodic phrase. Relevant phenomena include adjustments of agreement in Dutch, Arabic, etc., certain types of pro drop, certain types of cliticization and possibly comp agreement.