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Phonology of Agreement: optional double agreement and optional resizing of phonological words in Turkish

  • Aslı Göksel (Boğaziçi University)
Thursday 23 February 2017
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden


THE ISSUE: Stress in Turkish is typically word-final (1a-b, where prominence is denoted by capital letters). However, certain morphemes trigger stress on the morphemes that immediately precede them (e.g. the copula in 1c). Given the exceptional stress patterns that they create, these so-called pre-stressing morphemes have generated much recent debate.

1. a. [kitAp] b. [gör-dü-lEr] c. [gör-ecEk-i-di-ler]

        book        see-PST-3PL      see-FUT –COP–PST-3PL

    ‘book’    ‘They saw (it).’  ‘They were going to see (it).’

2. a. [(gör-ecEk)M/ω -i-di-ler] b. [(gör-dü-lEr)M/ω] c. [(kitAp)M/ω]

The prosodic grouping in (2) hints towards an apparent mismatch of domains, in which a prosodic word may target an entire “word”, i.e. root+its affixes (in 2b and c, the verbal complex and the vowel harmonic word) or only a part of it (2a). In this paper we argue that such morphemes are not problematic after all. We claim that the phenomenon in (1c) arises not from a mismatch of domains, but from a mismatch in the timing and direction of the formation of morphosyntactic and prosodic constituents.

SET I – optional resizing of ωs: Any account that assumes the raising of the participle to a position where agreement resides (cf. Shwayder 2015 and the references in there) cannot foresee the variable prosodic grouping given below. This is because, if each M-word corresponds to an ω, and if an M-word is derived via raising, then any M-word that contains the agreement morpheme must invariably correspond to a single ω. This is not borne out – compare (3a) and (3b).

3. A: Had the visitors seen Bill?

a. B: [((gör-mÜş)ω-NP (-ler-Ø-di)ω)φ]ι-F

            see-PERF– 3PL–COP–PST

           Lit: ‘(They) had seen.’

a. B: [((gör-müş -lEr)ω-NP (-Ø-di)ω)φ]ι-F

            see-PERF-3PL –COP–PST

         Lit: ‘(They) had seen.’

Dissimilar to the previous accounts, we claim that there is no v-to-Asp or v-to-T raising in Turkish. As such, the M-words that host both the verb root and T or Asp are derived via the lowering of T and Asp to v. In the talk, we will show how this twist naturally accounts for the optional resizing of ωs given in (3).

SET II – optional double agreement: Although the agreement morpheme is commonly exponed on the right edge of the verbal complex (as in 1b and c), certain agreement markers may also be realized on the right edge of the verb participle (i.e. in the middle of the vowel harmonic word) (as in 3). Among the two agreement paradigms in Turkish, (i.e. K-paradigm and Z-paradigm), only the exponents of the K-paradigm and the third person plural form of the Z-paradigm seem to be allowed in the verb-medial position (Sezer 1998, Good & Yu 2005). What is more, prosodic grouping indicates that variable ω-formation is possible only with those agreement morphemes that are allowed in medial position.

We present novel data to show that the agreement markers that are allowed in the verb-medial position may also be realized simultaneously in two places, i.e. both verb-finally and verb-medially.

4. gör-müş –ler-Ø-di-ler.


    Lit: ‘(They) had seen.’

In the second half of the talk we will discuss if there is a correlation between the medial (double) vs. final realization of agreement and prosodic resizing. We conclude that these are independent phenomena and however agreement is derived, a strategy such as lowering is necessary to predict variable parses given in (3).

We will also discuss other phonological accounts for double agreement from other languages such as Spanish (Harris & Halle 2005) and Basque (Arregi & Nevins 2012), and conclude that the double realization of agreement in Turkish cannot be accounted for by simply appealing to the phonological reduplication.

SELECTED REFERENCES: Good, J. & Yu, A. 2005. Morphosyntax of two Turkish subject pronominal paradigms. In Clitic and Affix Combinations, eds. L. Heggie, & F. Ordòñez: Amsterdam/ Philadelphia, John Benjamins B. V., 315-342.  Newell, H. 2008. Aspects of the morphology and phonology of phases. PhD dissertation, McGillU.  Sağ, Y. 2013. Copula in Turkish. In WAFL 8. Ed. U. Özge, 293–299. MIT WPL.  Shwayder, K. 2015. Words and subwords: phonology in a piece-based syntactic morphology. PhD dissertation, UPenn.

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