Nonconcatenative Morphology with Concatenative Syntax
Itamar Kastner
November 2014

The "root-and-pattern" makeup of Semitic verbs has posed a long-standing puzzle for morphologists: the interpretation of a given root in a given template is difficult to predict, so the correlation between the morphophonological form (the template) and the syntax/semantics of the verb (its argument structure) is not transparent. As a result, it is unclear what the structure of the verb actually is and how the phonology and semantics interact. This paper addresses these questions by probing argument structure alternations in Hebrew.
I suggest a syntactic treatment of Hebrew in which verbal templates are the spell-out of functional heads familiar from contemporary syntactic technology. The mapping from phonology to semantics will be more transparent as a consequence.
The paper motivates a distinction between the heads Voice and v and proposes an ontology of these heads: different Voice heads manipulate the introduction of elements in the syntax, and different v heads manipulate the kind of event that is introduced. I argue that when these functional elements carry certain features they are overt in Hebrew, spelled out cyclically and giving rise to the different templates.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002287
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in the proceedings of NELS 45
keywords: hebrew, argument structure, cyclicity, verbal templates, roots, morphology, syntax, phonology
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