Decomposing Path: The Nanosyntax of directional expressions
Marina Pantcheva
May 2011

In my thesis, I investigate directional expressions cross-linguistically. I examine the morpho-syntactic structure of expressions of Goal (to the house), Source (from the house), Route (through the house), as well as path expressions of the type up to the house and away from the house. I develop a fine-grained path typology comprising eight different types of paths and conclude that they have different complexity. Precisely, Source expressions are formed on the basis of Goal expressions, Route expressions are formed on the basis of Source expressions. Similarly, paths without transitions (towards, away from) are formed on the basis of the corresponding transitional path (to, from) and paths with delimitation (up tom starting from) are formed on the basis of the corresponding "ordinary" Goal or Source path. Assuming that morphological complexity is reflected in syntax, I take this containment relationship to indicate that the syntactic structure of Route expressions embeds the structure of Source expressions, which embed Goal expressions. Similarly, non-transitional and delimited paths embed the corresponding transitional path. This leads me to decomposing the Path head, argued to be present in directional phrases, into five distinct heads: Goal, Source, Route, Scale and Bound. I propose a semantic function for each particular head. I explore the lexicalization of the decomposed Path structure and show how it captures the morphological make-up and diversity of directional expressions across languages, as well as the restrictions which apply to them. In this, I follow the Nanosyntax framework and develop an idea recently put forward by M. Starke that the entries stored in the lexicon can trigger syntactic movements in order for Spell-out to take place. In the final part of the thesis, I investigate the various predictions made by the decomposed path structure and the lexicalization theory I assume. Specifically, I explore the possible and impossible lexicalization patterns and syncretisms between the various spatial roles and show that the system correctly captures the attested ones and bans the unattested ones.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/001351
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: University of Tromsø
keywords: path, goal, source, route, location, nanosyntax, decomposition, case, syncretism, morphology, syntax
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