Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The syntax-semantics interface in distributed morphology
by Kelly, Justin Robert, Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2013, 264; 3559577
Abstract (Summary)

Distributed Morphology (DM; Halle & Marantz 1993; Marantz 1997) is founded on the premise that the syntax is the only computational component of the grammar. Much research focuses on how this premise is relevant to the syntax-morphology interface in DM. In this dissertation, I examine theory-internal issues related to the syntax-semantics interface in DM. I also I propose an account of the Encyclopedia, where meaning is stored in the semantic component of the grammar, since a clear model is generally absent from DM literature.

Much of this dissertation is based on the Strong DM Hypothesis (SDMH; Embick & Noyer 2007), the idea that roots lack syntactico-semantic features. However, a corollary of the SDMH is necessary but generally ignored: a root cannot take an argument directly. The SDMH has repercussions for the syntax and compositional semantics in DM, so I propose models for both that are compatible with the SDMH. By defining the syntax of lexical categories, based on Hale & Keyser (2002) and Baker (2003), I extend the syntax to present an inventory of functional heads in DM. Utilizing a semantics based on Kratzer (1996), I define a formal semantic model for DM, and show how it interprets the syntax. I then present an approach to causation based on Kratzer (2004) and Pylkkänen (2008), providing an overt syntax and semantics for a variety of causative structures in English; zero and analytic causatives, and prepositional and adjectival resultatives. This approach to causation is applied to an analysis of other argument-structure phenomena in English, as well as in Italian and Japanese, showing how these phenomena are accounted for within this model of DM. However, cases remain where argument-structure phenomena cannot be resolved in the syntax alone, so I present an approach to the Encyclopedia with Hopper & Thompson's (1980) typology of transitivity as a starting point, and show how it can account for such cases.

By further specifying the nature of the syntax in DM and integrating this with a broader semantic model encompassing both compositional semantics and the Encyclopedia, this dissertation contributes to our overall understanding of the DM framework.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Portner, Paul
Commitee: Beavers, John, Kramer, Ruth, Lardiere, Donna
School: Georgetown University
Department: Linguistics
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 74/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics
Keywords: Distributed morphology, Linguistic interfaces, Semantics, Syntax
Publication Number: 3559577
ISBN: 978-1-303-04781-7
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