Morphology & Syntax workshop

March 3, 2023 | 12:30PM
Cobb 219

The last Morph-Syn meeting of this quarter is this Friday, March 3rd from 12:30pm to 2:30pm in Cobb 219. Our very own Karlos Arregi will be presenting work on the relation between head movement and periphrasis.


The relation between head movement and periphrasis
In joint work with Asia Pietraszko, I've been investigating the relation between head movement and the synthesis-periphrasis distinction in the verbal domain. We use the term synthes to refer to verbal expressions in which the lexical verb bears all the verbal inflection in a clause (e.g. rode in English). In contrast, a periphrasticverbal expression additionally contains an auxiliary verb (specifically, be or have), and verbal inflection is distributed between the lexical verb and the auxiliary (e.g. had ridden). We argue for a correlation between head movement and periphrasis that we refer to as the *V-Aux Generalization (*V-Aux): In a periphrastic expression, the lexical verb and the auxiliary can't be related by head movement (i.e. they don't form a complex head in the syntax). We argue that existing theories of  periphrasis are either too weak, in that they don't predict *V-Aux, or too strong, in that they predict that T necessarily forms a complex head with some verb either in synthesis or periphrasis.
We further argue that *V-Aux, and more generally, the observed interactions between head movement and the synthesis/periphrasis distinction, follow from the hypothesis that both head movement and periphrasis are tied to selection. More specifically, we propose that head movement is parasitic on a selectional relation (following Svenonius 1994, Matushansky 2006, and Preminger 2019) and that periphrasis is Merge of an auxiliary verb triggered by a selectional feature of T that can't be satisfied by the lexical verb (Déchaine 1995, Cowper 2010, Pietraszko 2017). This analysis derives *V-Aux from the absence of a selectional relation between the auxiliary and the lexical verb.