LINGUIST List 13.836

Tue Mar 26 2002

Diss: Benavides "The Semantics of Spanish Morphology"

Editor for this issue: Karolina Owczarzak <>


  1. cbenavides, Semantics: Benavides "The Semantics of Spanish Morphology"

Message 1: Semantics: Benavides "The Semantics of Spanish Morphology"

Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 15:57:41 +0000
From: cbenavides <>
Subject: Semantics: Benavides "The Semantics of Spanish Morphology"

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: University of Iowa
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 1999

Author: Carlos Benavides 

Dissertation Title: 
The Semantics of Spanish Morphology

Linguistic Field: 
Semantics, Morphology

Subject Language: 

Dissertation Director 1: William Davies
Dissertation Director 2: Alice Davison
Dissertation Director 3: Sarah Fagan
Dissertation Director 4: Paula Kempchinsky

Dissertation Abstract: 
This study focuses on the analysis of Spanish derivational morphology
(e.g. the derivative demol + icion 'demolition') and presents a
morphosemantic model that contributes to a solution of the problem of
the lack of semantic analyses within derivational morphology. The
three key elements of the model are the mechanisms of feature
percolation and subcategorization/selection, and the notion of slot
structure. Crucial to the model is that both percolation and
subcategorization/selection, as well as slot structure, take into
account both syntactic and semantic information, including information
about argument structure. Models that separate syntactic from semantic
information need to posit three separate types of rules acting
independently of each other: subcategorization rules, selectional
rules, and rules that deal with argument structure. By contrast, the
present model reduces the machinery of the grammar by proposing only
two mechanisms (percolation and subcategorization/selection) that
depend on each other and act in concert. In addition, the mechanism of
percolation integrates slot structure into the system by manipulating
its content. Within the model, several principles, conditions and
constraints that have been proposed in the morphological literature
are incorporated in the mechanisms of percolation and
subcategorization/selection. In addition to Spanish derivation, the
model adequately accounts for non-derivational affixation
(e.g. inflection), as well as the derivational morphology of several
languages genetically unrelated to Spanish, which suggests that the
notions of percolation, subcategorization/selection, and slot
structure are universal constructs.
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