Cyclic Selection. Auxiliaries are merged, not inserted.
Asia Pietraszko
May 2020

Traditional approaches to verbal periphrasis (compound tenses) treat auxiliary verbs as lexical items that enter syntactic derivation like any other lexical item, i.e. via Selection/Merge. An alternative view that has received much attention in recent years is that auxiliary verbs are not base generated but rather inserted in a previously built structure (i.a. Bach 1967; Embick 2000; Arregi 2000; Cowper 2010; Bjorkman 2011; Arregi & Klecha 2015). Arguments for the insertion approach to auxiliaries include their last-resort distribution and the fact that, in many languages, auxiliaries are not systematically associated with a given inflectional category (the "overflow" distribution, Bjorkman 2011). In this paper, I argue against the insertion approach. First, I demonstrate that the overflow and last-resort distribution follow from Cyclic Selection (Pietraszko 2017) – a Merge-counterpart of Cyclic Agree (Béjar & Rezac 2009). And second, I show that the insertion approach makes wrong predictions about compound tenses in Swahili, a language with overflow periphrasis.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005194
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: ms.
keywords: selection, auxiliaries, compound tenses, cyclicity, swahili, head movement, morphology, syntax
previous versions: v1 [May 2020]
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