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LINGUIST List 17.2468

Sat Sep 02 2006

Diss: Morphology/Syntax: Siddiqi: 'Minimize Exponence: Economy effe...'

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        1.    Daniel Siddiqi, Minimize Exponence: Economy effects on the morphosyntactic component of the grammar

Message 1: Minimize Exponence: Economy effects on the morphosyntactic component of the grammar
Date: 31-Aug-2006
From: Daniel Siddiqi <dan.siddiqittu.edu>
Subject: Minimize Exponence: Economy effects on the morphosyntactic component of the grammar

Institution: University of Arizona
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Daniel A Siddiqi

Dissertation Title: Minimize Exponence: Economy effects on the morphosyntactic component of the grammar

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology

Dissertation Director:
Andrew Carnie
Michael Hammond
Heidi Harley
Simin Karimi

Dissertation Abstract:

Working within the morphosyntactic framework of Distributed Morphology (DM,
Halle and Marantz 1993, 1994) within the Minimalist Program (Chomsky 1995),
this dissertation proposes a new economy constraint on the grammar,
MINIMIZE EXPONENCE, which selects the derivation that realizes all its
interpretable features with the fewest morphemes. The purpose of this
proposal is to capture the conflicting needs of the grammar to be both
maximally contrastive and maximally efficient.

I argue that the constraint MINIMIZE EXPONENCE has a number of effects on
analyses of morphosyntactic phenomena. I propose that, in order to satisfy
MINIMIZE EXPONENCE, the roots in a derivation fuse with the functional
heads projected above them, resulting in a simplex head that contains both
a root and interpretable features. Following the tenets of DM, this head
is now a target for the process of Vocabulary insertion. Since the target
node contains both content and functional information, so too can
Vocabulary Items (VIs) be specified for both types of information. This
allows VIs such as eat and ate to compete with each other. This
competition of forms linked to the same root allows for a new model of root
allomorphy within the framework of DM. In this model of root allomorphy,
following proposals by Pfau (2000), VIs that realize roots participate in
competition in the same was as do VIs that realize abstract morphemes.
Since root VIs are participating in competition and are specified for both
content and formal features, the need for licensing through secondary
exponence as proposed by Harley and Noyer (2000) is removed from the
framework. Further, since eat and ate in this model are different VIs with
different specifications that compete with each other for insertion, this
model of root allomorphy also eliminates the need for readjustment rules as
proposed by Halle and Marantz (1993, 1994) and elaborated on by Marantz
(1997). This new model of root allomorphy allows for an account of the
blocking of regular inflection in English nominal compounds (e.g.
*rats-catcher), which was problematic for theorists working with DM, given
the tenets of the framework.

I also arge that the fusion of roots and functional elements driven by
MINIMIZE EXPONENCE allows for a new account of subcategorization. The
model of subcategorization presented here falls out of the following facts:
1) arguments are introduced by functional heads; 2) those heads fuse with
the root they are projected above, resulting in the node containing both
the root and the features of the functional heads; 3) since the root now
contains both the root and the formal features, the corresponding VI can be
specified for both; 4) VIs that realize roots can also be specified for
compatibility or incompatibility of the features of the functional heads
that license argument structure. The result here is an underspecification
model of subcategorization that predicts a number of behaviors of verbs
with respect to their argument structure that it is difficult for a full
specification model to account for. Those include polysemy (I ran the ball
to Mary) and structural coercion (I thought the book to Mary).

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