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UM – Universal Morphology - Michal Starke

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10:00 AM, Friday 6 Nov 2020 EST (1 hour)
UQAM - Track 6A

This talk explores the idea that morphology is entirely regular and principled, even when it looks at its wildest and most idiosyncratic - allomorphy, portemanteaux, irregular forms, etc. What is more, morphology is regular and principled in the same way syntax is regular and principled: morphology and syntax are one and the same, with no need for post-syntactic readjustment modules, lexical word formation processes or untriggered rules "adjusting" the syntax.

This will be illustrated by a case-study of irregular verbs: 200 French irregular verbs are investigated and shown to display underlying regularities derivable from how they spellout the syntactic functional sequence.

The two underlying ingredients allowing this are: (i) embracing the result of syntactic research suggesting that each feature is its own syntactic terminal, and hence doing away with "feature bundles" -- this eliminates an artificial boundary between 'morpheme-like' units and syntax proper, (ii) lexically stored material 'blocks' derivationally created material, thereby creating the illusion that regularity didn't happen. We will give a precise formulation of this effect via derivational spellout (later spellout overrides earlier spellout) and an algorithm for last-resort spellout-driven movement.

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