Thursday 21 April – Deniz Tat

Speaker:  Deniz Tat (Leiden Institute for Area Studies)
Title: Acategorial Roots in an Agglutinating Language
Date: Thursday 21 April
Time: 15.15-16.30
Venue: Eyckhof 2-003

One of the main claims of Distributed Morphology (DM) is that word formation occurs in syntax (Halle and Marantz 1993). In this theory, a word minimally consists of a Root, an atomic unit of sound and meaning, and a categorizing morpheme that provides the Root with a category label  (Harley and Noyer 1999). The Semitic family presents some of the strongest arguments in favor of acategorial Roots, e.g. √GDL à gadal ‘grow’ in Hebrew (Arad 2005).  In this talk, I will argue for the universality of acategorial Roots by showing that they also exist in a language like Turkish, with a morphology that is as unrelated to the Semitic family as one can imagine. I will discuss this by showing two cases of allomorphy conditioned by Root adjacency (i.e. Key’s (2013) analysis of aorist and causative allomorphy in Turkish). I will also discuss the categorial status of the Roots as whether projecting or non-projecting syntactic elements, and claim that they cannot project, unlike what has been argued in the literature (e.g. Harley 2011).

Arad, M. 2005. Roots and patterns: Hebrew morpho-syntax. Dodrecht: Springer.
Halle, M. and Marantz, A. 1993. Distributed morphology and the pieces of inflection. In A view from Building 20: Essays in linguistics in honor of Sylvain Bromberger, ed. K. Hale and S. J. Keyser, 111-176. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Harley, H. 2011. On the identity of Roots. M.s. University of Arizona.
Harley, H. and Noyer, R. 1999. Distributed Morphology. GLOT 4/4, 3-9.
Key, G. 2003 The Morphosyntax of the Turkish Causative Construction PhD thesis. University of Arizona.


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