The Mirror Alignment Principle: Morpheme Ordering at the Morphosyntax-Phonology Interface
Sam Zukoff
October 2021

As codified by Baker’s (1985) “Mirror Principle” (MP), the linear order of morphemes within a word generally correlates with hierarchical syntactic structure. While Baker uses morphological ordering to demonstrate the inseparability of syntax and morphology, he simply assumes cyclic morphological concatenation as the formal means by which MP-compliance is enacted in the grammar. This paper develops a new framework for morpheme ordering, the Mirror Alignment Principle (MAP), which derives the MP while avoiding some of the shortcomings of cyclic morphological concatenation. The MAP is a morphology-phonology interface algorithm that takes morphosyntactic c-command relations and dynamically generates a ranking of alignment constraints (McCarthy & Prince 1993) in the phonological component. All possible morpheme orders are considered and evaluated by an Optimality Theoretic (Prince & Smolensky [1993] 2004) phonological grammar, which selects the optimal surface order through constraint interaction. Even though morpheme order is computed in the phonology, the driving force behind this order is the syntax/morphology. This link between grammatical components generates MP-compliant morpheme orders. This paper focuses on two case studies. First, it will show how the MAP is consistent with the complex interaction between MP-satisfaction and the “CARP template” in Bantu (Hyman 2003). Second, it will show that the MAP can explain intricate ordering alternations within Arabic’s root-and-pattern verbal system. This will demonstrate that MP-behavior can indeed be identified even in nonconcatenative morphological systems.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005374
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: NLLT (to appear) [pre-pub version]
keywords: mirror principle, alignment, morpheme ordering, bantu carp template, arabic nonconcatenative morphology, infixation, morphology, syntax, phonology
previous versions: v2 [August 2020]
v1 [August 2020]
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