The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

MorPhun 11/20 - Stanislao Zompi’ (MIT)

Speaker: Stanislao Zompi’ (MIT)
Title: Božič (2019): “Strictly local Impoverishment: An intervention effect”
Time: Wednesday, November 20th, 5pm – 6:30pm
Location: 32-D831

Abstract: Languages that exhibit systematic patterns of morphological syncretism must involve a rule that derives such syncretism as a `deep’ property of the grammar, according to Harley (2008) and Nevins (2011). They show that, within Distributed Morphology (Halle & Marantz 1993), this needs to be derived by Impoverishment (Bonet 1991, Noyer 1992, Halle & Marantz 1994), which as a context-sensitive operation deletes feature F in the context of F. Nevins (2011) discusses Ljubljana Slovenian, and posits Impoverishment of the DUAL-number contrasts in the context of feminine gender. However, Nevins’ argument is only based on the relevant morphological paradigms in isolation and only their nominative Case forms. This papers provides more empirical context, viz. entire morphological paradigms from Ljubljana Slovenian, and also the interaction of the relevant syncretism with agreement patterns. While the agreement patterns confirm the post-syntactic nature of Impoverishment, the full morphological paradigms show that Impoverishment is systematically blocked in certain Case forms: while Impoverishment applies in the context of flexional morphology, it fails to do so in the context of agglutinative morphology. This pattern of blocking can be captured as an intervention effect if Impoverishment is limited to considering a strictly local Xº as context, viz. the closest Xº available in the c-command domain.