Roots and Affixes: Eliminating Lexical Categories from Syntax

Author: Marijke De Belder
LOT Number: 282
ISBN: 978-94-6093-065-2
Pages: 309
Year: 2011
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Roots and Affixes

Eliminating Lexical Categories from Syntax

Roots and Affixes is an investigation into the primitives of syntax. It focuses on
the lexical projection and the categorial head. Accordingly, it consists of two
parts. The first part argues that the features of lexical vocabulary items (such
as light and kiss) are not an active part of the syntactic derivation. The author
provides empirical support for the claim that vocabulary items are inserted
post-syntactically, adopting the view that syntax operates on UG-features only.
She argues that the root terminal node is a by-product of the operation Merge
that is characterized by the mere absence of features. It is further shown that
functional structure determines subcategories of lexical items. In the second
part of the thesis it is argued that categorial heads do not exist. As a result, de -
rivational affixes do not realize categorial heads. The author proposes instead
that derivational affixes are lexical vocabulary items which realize root posi -
tions. It is shown that the abandonment of categorial heads does not lead to a
loss of explanatory adequacy. The general conclusion is that lexical categorial
features are not a primitive of syntax.

Roots and Affixes

Eliminating Lexical Categories from Syntax

Roots and Affixes is an investigation into the primitives of syntax. It focuses on
the lexical projection and the categorial head. Accordingly, it consists of two
parts. The first part argues that the features of lexical vocabulary items (such
as light and kiss) are not an active part of the syntactic derivation. The author
provides empirical support for the claim that vocabulary items are inserted
post-syntactically, adopting the view that syntax operates on UG-features only.
She argues that the root terminal node is a by-product of the operation Merge
that is characterized by the mere absence of features. It is further shown that
functional structure determines subcategories of lexical items. In the second
part of the thesis it is argued that categorial heads do not exist. As a result, de -
rivational affixes do not realize categorial heads. The author proposes instead
that derivational affixes are lexical vocabulary items which realize root posi -
tions. It is shown that the abandonment of categorial heads does not lead to a
loss of explanatory adequacy. The general conclusion is that lexical categorial
features are not a primitive of syntax.

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