Provocative feature deletion: a syntactic model of agreement alternations in noun incorporation contexts

Nicoll, Katherine Ilia (2015) Provocative feature deletion: a syntactic model of agreement alternations in noun incorporation contexts. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The relationship between noun incorporation (NI) and the agreement alternations that occur in such contexts (NI Transitivity Alternations) remains inadequately understood. Three interpretations of these alternations (Baker, Aranovich & Golluscio 2005; Mithun 1984; Rosen 1989) are shown to be undermined by foundational or mechanical issues. I propose a syntactic model, adopting Branigan's (2011) interpretation of NI as the result of “provocative” feature valuation, which triggers generation of a copy of the object that subsequently merges inside the verb. Provocation triggers a reflexive Refine operation that deletes duplicate features from chains, making them interpretable for Transfer. NI Transitivity Alternations result from variant deletion preferences exhibited during Refine. I argue that the NI contexts discussed (Generic NI, Partial NI and Double Object NI) result from different restrictions on phonetic and semantic identity in chain formation. This provides us with a consistent definition of NI Transitivity Alternations across contexts, as well as a new typology that distinguishes NI contexts, rather than incorporating languages.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11761
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 95-96).
Keywords: syntax, incorporation, agreement, provocation
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: November 2015
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Grammar, Comparative and general--Noun; Grammar, Comparative and general--Transitivity; Grammar, Comparative and general--Agreement; Grammar, Comparative and general--Syntax

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