Universiteit Leiden

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Can zero-derived nominals project an argument structure?

Thursday 25 October 2018
P.N. van Eyckhof 3
P.N. van Eyckhof 3
2311 BV Leiden


In this talk, I will revisit the claim that zero-derived nominals cannot have an argument structure (Grimshaw, 1990; Borer, 2003; Alexiadou and Grimshaw, 2008) by looking at a class of such nominals in Turkish that assign accusative case. These nominals are always of foreign origin, mostly Arabic, but also French and Italian, while their Semitic or Romance derivational histories have no formal status in the synchronic grammar of Turkish. They not only assign structural case, but also allow aspectual and agent-oriented modification, event control within rationale clauses and binomial each, all indicating the presence of a verbal representation. They are analogous to English nominals, such as murder, collapse, repair and defeat, as in the example “the frequent murder of judiciary and governmental officials” (Harley, 2009: 341), which are crucially of Latinate/French origin (see also Alexiadou 2009: 257). I will thus conclude that nominals of foreign origin can be exceptions to the generalization that zero-derived nominals do not project an argument structure, and that models of lexical borrowing must refer to underlying morphosyntactic representations.

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