English Lexical Levels are not Lexical, but Phonological
Heather Newell
June 2017

This paper aims to demonstrate that a morpho-phonological pattern that has been central to the development of morpho-syntactic theories has been misanalysed. The pattern in question is the existence of two classes of affixes in English; Level 1 affixes, which are included in the phonological domain of the base to which they attach, and Level 2 affixes, which are external to the phonological domain to which they attach. Since SPE, generative grammarians have taken it as given that the distinction between Level 1 and Level 2 affixes is lexical. That is, the class-membership of a given affix is a feature that not only must be memorized, but is also a morphological diacritic. This diacritic is necessary iff there is no other relevant distinction between the two groups of affixes. It is the goal here to demonstrate that there is, in fact, another distinction between these affixes, and that this difference is the true source of the division of affixes into the Level 1 and Level 2 classes. The pertinent distinction has nothing to do with morpho-lexical classification, but is instead purely phonological. The first segment of Level 1 affixes is a floating vowel, while no Level 2 affixes begin with a floating vowel.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003898
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: under review
keywords: liaison, cvcv phonology, lexical morphology and phonology, distributed morphology, phases, morphology, phonology
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