Idioms: Phasehood and Projection
Will Harwood, Marko Hladnik, Sterre Leufkens, Tanja Temmerman, Norbert Corver, Jeroen van Craenenbroeck
November 2016

This paper examines idiomatic expressions in light of the hypothesis that the vP-phase boundary defines a size limitation for verbal idioms. Under this analysis, a problem arises when one considers that the most canonical verbal idioms contain a DP-object. Given that DPs are also claimed to be phases, the question arises of why verbal idioms can straddle the DP- but not the vP-phase boundary. Our solution to this problem is twofold. We show first of all that not all idioms are actually confined to a single phase: whilst idiomatic phrases are restricted to the vP-phase, idiomatically combing expressions are not. Hence, the DP-phase problem is only relevant for idiomatic phrases. Secondly, we propose that in these instances the determiner, which does not contribute referentiality to the object, actually does not project. Without a DP, there is no DP-phase, and it is the vP-phase that determines the upper limit for the idiom.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002951
(please use that when you cite this article)
keywords: idioms, dp phase, vp phase, compositionality, projection, syntax
previous versions: v1 [April 2016]
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