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Beyond MorphologyInterface Conditions on Word Formation$
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Peter Ackema and Ad Neeleman

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267286

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267286.001.0001

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Competition between Syntax and Morphology

Competition between Syntax and Morphology

(p.48) 3 Competition between Syntax and Morphology
Beyond Morphology

Peter Ackema (Contributor Webpage)

Ad Neeleman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the idea that if the phrase-level and word-level structures are generated in separate submodules, there can be competition between these modules as to which one gets to realize a particular combination of a head and its dependents. It is proposed that in many languages syntax takes priority over morphology, all else being equal. Things are equal if projections of the same heads are combined, and if the meaning relation expressed by this combination is the same in both cases. This accounts for why synthetic compounds in English can contain the combination of a verb and its internal argument, whereas root compounds cannot. Other phenomena accounted for by the idea of such syntax-morphology competition include the behaviour of ‘separable compound verbs’ in Dutch, particle verbs in Swedish, and the occurrence of syntactic idioms in morphological form when embedded under an affix.

Keywords:   compounding, particle verbs, idioms, submodule, Dutch, Swedish

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