The morphology of nominalizations and the syntax of vP

Heidi Harley

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    In English nominalizations one type of meaning shift – from event to result readings – seems to be quite productive and predictable. These meaning shifts do not affect the internal morphological structure of the nominalization, which entails that in a Distributed Morphology approach, the complete verbal internal structure must be present. However, they do affect the argument structure of the nominalization, ruling out the presence of the internal argument that is mandatory on the event interpretation (Grimshaw (1990)). This challenge to a DM approach to English nominalizations was first laid out in detail in Borer (2003a), as well as in Alexiadou (this volume) and Ackema & Neeleman (2004), and is taken up here. This chapter explores first what that internal structure must consist of, by considering the syntax of verb-particle constructions and their behaviour in mixed nominalizations, then identifies particular verbal morphemes with particular syntactic terminals. This points to certain conclusions about the structure of the verb phrase, and the meaning contributions of certain sub-components. Finally, some discussion is presented about the problem of how to derive the result nominalization meaning, given the necessary conclusion, for DM, that they have verbal syntactic structure contained within them.The central point is that taking the morphology–syntax relationship seriously strongly constrains what can be proposed in terms of a structural repre- sentation of nominalizations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationQuantification, Definiteness and Nominalization
    EditorsMonika Rathert, Anastasia Giannankidou
    Place of PublicationOxford, UK
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Print)0199541094
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2009


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