Topics in English Morphology

D. C. Siegel, 1974

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This thesis concerns aspects of English inflectional and derivational morphology.

In Chapter 1, a theory of English case is developed.  The morphology of genitive pronouns is investigated.  It is shown that the genitive feature originates in the determiner.  A phrase structure rule which expands N'''' as N'''CASE is motivated.  The structure-dependent rules which realize CASE are formulated and their ordering is investigated.  The empirical consequences of enriching the structure of noun phrases is discussed.  A condition on N''', the CASE Condition, is proposed and its consequences are discussed.  The surface rules which incorporate the genitive feature into nouns and pronouns are formulated.

In Chapter 2, some fundamental issues in derivational morphology are investigated.  The nature and distribution of the boundaries are investigated.  The nature and distribution of the boundaries which play a role in lexical word derivation are discussed.  It is demonstrated that English affixes fall into two classes: those which are introduced with the + boundary (Class I affixes) and those which are introduced with the # boundary (Class II affixes).  The application of the rules of primary stress assignment and stress subordination to lexically derived words is considered.  The ways in which Class I and Class II affix-derived words differ are discussed.  A schema of lexical organization which accounts for these differences is proposed.  This schema obviates the need for global affixation conditions and constrains the generative capacity of the lexicon.

Thesis supervisor:         Morris Halle

Title:                             Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics

Table of Contents

Chapter 1         A Theory of English Case                                                                     28

            1          The morphology of English genitive pronouns                             28

                        1.1       The strong and weak forms of English genitive pronouns            28

                        1.2       The distribution of the strong and weak forms                29

                        1.3       Genitive spell-out on pronouns                                      34

                        1.4       Justification of the determiner source for the genitive

                                    feature                                                                                      35

                                    1.4.1    Evidence that genitive pronouns are not subjects

                                                or objects                                                                     36

                                    1.4.2    One as the missing subject or object                              45

                        1.5       Justification for not using syntactic dependency to predict

                                    the distribution of the strong and weak forms                 49

                        1.6       Reformulation of the genitive pronoun spell-out rule                   54

            2          The representation of CASE in phrase structure                         55

                        2.1       Evidence that the distribution of the genitive feature

                                    cannot be stated at the surface                                      57

                        2.2       N""""                                                                                        60

                        2.3       Revision of the phrase structure rules to incorporate N""""          62

            3          CASE-realization                                                                                  63

                        3.1       Genitive CASE-realization                                                        63

                                    3.1.1    The rule"s application in noun phrases and

                                                derived nominals                                                           64

                                    3.1.2    The rule"s application in verbal gerunds             64

                        3.2       Nominative and oblique CASE-realization                                 71

            4          Formulations of genitive movement, NP-preposing, and agent-

                        postposing                                                                                            73

            5          Empirical consequences of the theory of CASE                         78

                        5.1       Two types of movement rules                                                    78

                        5.2       The CASE condition                                                                 79

                        5.3       Further remarks                                                                        80

            6          Surface rules                                                                                         85

                        6.1       Genitive incorporation                                                   86

                        6.2       Genitive distribution                                                                  90

                        6.3       Genitive spell-out on nouns                                                       94

            7          Epilogue                                                                                               98

Footnotes                                                                                                                     100

Chapter 2         Basic Issues in Derivational Morphology                                               101

            1          Introduction                                                                                          101

            2          The lexical representation of formatives                                     104

                        2.1       Stems                                                                                       104

                        2.2       Prefixes                                                                                    105

                        2.3       Suffixes                                                                                    107

                        2.4       Underived words                                                                      109

                        2.5       Derived words                                                                          110

            3          Two classes of affixes                                                                           111

                        3.1       Two classes of suffixes                                                  111

                                    3.1.1    Class I suffixes                                                  111

                                    3.1.2    Class II suffixes                                                            112

                        3.2       Two classes of prefixes                                                 114

                                    3.2.1    Class I prefixes                                                 115

                                    3.2.2    Class II prefixes                                                            130

            4          The structure of the lexicon                                                                   148

                        4.1       Consequences of (36)                                                               154

                        4.2       Sample derivations                                                                    155

                                    4.2.1    Class I affixes                                                               156

                                    4.2.2    Class II affixes                                                  160

            5          Further empirical consequences of the proposed structure of the

                        lexicon                                                                                                  162

                        5.1       Elimination of global constraints on suffixation                163

                        5.2       The stacking-up of Class I and Class II affixes               182

Footnotes                                                                                                                     189