Anna Maria di Sciullo

University of Quebec at Montreal & NYU
Talk Title: 
Edge Morphology
Event Type: 
Spring 2017
Friday, March 24, 2017, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
SAC 303
    I develop the thesis that basic components of thought, not limited to propositions, are derived from the optimally constructed generative procedure in conjunction with Third Factor Principles of efficient computation. I focus on the externalization of edge morphology.
    The Edge(X) of a phase includes both X (the Head) and the Specifier of X  [Spec [H [Compl]]]. The complement of a phase is spelled out before the edge (Chomsky 2001, et seq.), and economy conditions have been proposed for the externalization of the Edge. For example, the linearization of affixes has been proposed to follow from their position, either Head or Specifier, at the Edge of their morphological phase (Di Sciullo 2004, 2005), (1). The non-pronunciation of the preposition AT/TO in English here and there has been proposed to follow from a more general version of the Doubly-Filled Comp Filter (Koopman and Szabolcsi 2000), restated in terms of the following Spell-Out condition, (Collins, 2007), (2).
(1) The edge of a morphological phase must be legible at the SM interface. 
(2) a. Edge(X) must be phonetically overt.
      b. The condition in (a) applies in a minimal way so that either the Head or the Specifier, but not both, are spelled-out overtly. 
    I discuss the properties of here and there in Italian and Abruzzese, and ask the question why the locative/directional preposition is not pronounced in Italian, qui “here”, li “there”, whereas it can be pronounced in Fallese, e.g. aecche “at here” and alocche “at there”, a dialect spoken in Abruzzi. I provide an explanation as for why the edge morphology, here a locative directional preposition a-, is apparently optional in argument position, whereas it must be pronounced otherwise. I propose an analysis in terms of feature valuing via External or Internal External Merge in conjunction with a principle of efficient computation, along the lines of Di Sciullo (2017). Independent evidence for the analysis comes from the pronunciation vs. silence of edge morphology in co-ordinations. The analysis correctly predicts the apparent optionality of the conjunction in some cases, e.g. Mary, Lucia and Paula, and its non-pronunciation in other cases, e.g. *Mary and Lucy, Paula. It also makes correct predictions for the apparent optionality of the conjunction in additive cardinal numerals and dvandva compounds.
    The analysis brings further support to the Strong Minimalist thesis (Chomsky 1995 et seq.), according to which language is an optimal solution to interface conditions. A single operation in conjunction with Principles of efficient computation, maximizing asymmetry and minimizing externalization, provide a unified analysis of the externalization of edge morphology in different domains.
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