Peter Svenonius
April 2012

Spans are complement sequences of heads, e.g. if T selects VP as a complement, and V is the head of VP, then T-V is a span. That spans are a significant entity for syntax has been implicitly recognized in the Head Movement Constraint: A head may only move to the head selecting it, thus a head may only move within a span (e.g. V can move to T). Brody's Mirror theory goes so far as to equate spans with words (so if T and V do not form a word, then in that case VP is not the complement of T), replacing head movement with a linearization instruction for a complex head (e.g. a V-T word can spell out in V (English) or T (French)). This suggests a close connection between spell-out and spans, one which I develop in this paper. I claim the following: Spans are targets for morpheme insertion (so T-V could in principle be spelled out by a single morpheme, without any movement being necessary, and regardless of whether V also has a complement---contra Brody, a span is not necessarily a word). I develop this position through a close examination of a few portmanteau preposition-determiner forms in French (de+le=du, and à+le=au). The interaction of syntax and phonology in the selection of the correct allomorph sheds much light on the nature of spell-out and lexical insertion.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/001501
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Ms. CASTL, University of Tromsø
keywords: spanning, spell-out, morphology, dm, distributed morphology, french, preposition, determiner, preposition-determiner fusion, allomorphy, morphology, syntax
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