SYNCRETISM AS PF-REPAIR: THE CASE OF SE-INSERTION IN SPANISH

Mercedes Pujalte*, Andres Saab

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This chapter focuses on the mechanism that determines the distribution of clitic insertion (CL-insertion) in a set of well-known argument alternations in Spanish (reflexives, anticausatives, and passives/impersonals). We claim that a clitic is inserted post-syntactically when v([EXT ARG]) is not merged with a DP in the syntax. The absence of a Spec, vP is due to the lack of phi-features on C or v. By adapting Muller's (2010) proposal that Merge is induced by subcategorization features, we argue that these features must be discharged at the morphological level for well-formedness conditions. If some of these features are not satisfied in the syntax, CL-insertion applies as a repair strategy to remove the surviving subcategorization feature. This is precisely the case in the empirical domain with which we are concerned: a v([EXT ARG]) that is not merged with any DP in the syntax induces CL-insertion at PF as a last resort operation. Such an operation is subject to strict locality conditions that determine morphological visibility for cyclic computation (Embick, 2010; Marvin, 2002). We will show that a restrictive theory of CL-insertion not only derives the basic distribution of some argument alternations, but also accounts for why CL-insertion can rescue external arguments but not internal ones. If our approach is on the right track, it follows that the notion of argument structure should be considered as an epiphenomenon and not as primitive of grammatical theory.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEND OF ARGUMENT STRUCTURE?
    EditorsMC Cuervo, Y Roberge
    Place of PublicationBINGLEY
    PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
    Pages229-260
    Number of pages32
    ISBN (Print)978-1-78052-377-4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Publication series

    NameSyntax and Semantics
    PublisherEMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD
    Volume38
    ISSN (Print)0092-4563

    Keywords

    • CL-insertion
    • argument alternation
    • subcategorization
    • feature inheritance
    • Distributed Morphology
    • Spanish
    • CONSTRUCTIONS
    • FEATURES
    • MOVEMENT
    • LEXICON
    • ROMANCE
    • SYNTAX
    • PHASE

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