The Morphology & Syntax Workshop will meet this Friday, February 24th, from 12:30pm to 2:30pm in Cobb 219. Naomi Kurtz will give a presentation on Galician article contraction.
Galician Article Contraction as a Reflex of Case Assignment
Definite articles and direct-object clitics in Galician undergo contraction with a variety of left-adjacent hosts. In this talk, however, I concentrate primarily on the former, which display considerably more complex variation. Article contraction is intriguing in that it is sensitive both to syntactic structure and phonological constraints, but researchers have yet to investigate it in depth (although some of the syntactic effects have been studied in limited contexts (Uriagereka 1988, 1996, Bošković 2013, 2017)). This research aims to develop a comprehensive analysis of article contraction that teases apart how syntax and phonology interact to give rise to this phenomenon. Adopting Halpert’s (2012, 2013) approach to case in Zulu, I argue that article contraction is a morphological reflex of case assignment. Specifically, I propose that DPs that launch article contraction are assigned structural case by functional heads along the clausal spine as well as by nominal-internal elements; in contrast, DPs whose D heads remain “un-contracted” bear intrinsic case, i.e., case “self-assigned” as a last resort. Evidence for a case-based analysis of contraction comes from a striking cross-linguistic parallel between nominal behaviors in Galician and in Zulu. However, a case-based account does not fully capture the patterns of article contraction (or of direct-object clitics). Therefore, borrowing from Pak (2008), I sketch a possible solution to this problem and submit that contraction is also constrained to certain phonological domains.