The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LF Reading Group 4/22 - Ido Benbaji, Omri Doron, Margaret Wang (MIT)

Speaker: Ido Benbaji, Omri Doron, Margaret Wang (MIT)
Title: Reduplication in Hebrew as a Diagnostic for Antonym Decomposition
Time: Wednesday, April 22nd, 1pm – 2pm

Abstract: Abstract: In recent years, it has become increasingly common to decompose what have been called marked members of antonym pairsinto a negation operator and the corresponding unmarked pair member (henceforth: negative and positive adjectives, cf. Büring 2007, Heim 2006; 2008). This approach contrasts with theories that, at least implicitly, assume the negative component in adjectives is lexicalized in their core meaning. We argue, based on evidence from Modern Hebrew reduplication, that we need a mixed analysis incorporating both approaches: some negative adjectives must be syntactically decomposable, while others are necessarily syntactically simplex. This approach makes testable predictions regarding constructions that have been argued to involve syntactic decomposition of the adjectives they contain, such as cross-polar anomalies and Rullmann ambiguities. We show that, as predicted if they indeed require decomposition, non-decomposable adjectives are unavailable in such constructions.