Denis Delfitto, Chiara Melloni

Compounds Don't Come Easy

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Root compounds, antisymmetry, compound phases, interface conditions, economy principles

In this article we present an original analysis of NN compounds in Germanic and Romance, proposing that their morpho-syntactic and interpretive properties can be explained in compliance with narrow syntax conditions on Merge and Projection, crucially related to Kayne's Antisymmetry model. In particular, we contend that root compounding represents a specific mode of syntactic computation ("Compound Phase"), whereby two structurally identical syntactic objects - the compound members - get merged in a parallel fashion, hence yielding a symmetric configuration that prevents label projection. Compound Phase computation can thus be seen as a "repair strategy" allowing the derivation to get a label and converge at the interfaces. On these theoretical grounds, the formal and interpretive contrasts between Germanic and Romance, and, within each language, the differences between compounds and prototypical syntactic constructions are essentially derived from the syntax of Compound Phases, given the independent properties of the lexical items involved in the computation.

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