Anke Luedeling (Tübingen)/ Jochen Zeller (Frankfurt):
A Distributed Morphology Approach to Particle Verbs

Mittwoch, 16.30 Uhr

The verb-particle construction in German is a particularly interesting instance of complex predicate formation, basically for two reasons. First, particle verbs show both syntactic properties (particle and verb can be separated) and morphological properties (particle verbs can undergo processes of derivational morphology). Second, many particle verbs receive an idiomatic interpretation; the meaning of the complex predicate is not evaluated on the basis of the meaning of its parts.

In this talk, we will argue that the properties of particle verbs are best accounted for if some of the traditional ideas about lexical insertion and the syntax-morphology interface are given up. For example, Neeleman's (1994) analysis of particle verbs as syntactically complex heads is based on the observation that particle verbs show morphological properties. Since Neeleman adopts the traditional (and, as we argue, wrong) view that the output of morphology provides the input for all syntactic operations, he claims that particle verbs are necessarily formed in a presyntactic morphological component. In contrast, we assume, following proposals by Halle & Marantz (1993), Marantz (1995), Jackendoff (1997), and Zeller (1997), that morphology is distributed among several components and that lexical operations can also apply after syntactic operations have been performed. We will suggest that the phonological and semantic features of lexical items are not relevant to syntax and are therefore only supplied at the interface levels to the conceptual and phonological system (LF and Morphological Structure MS (cf. Halle & Marantz 1993), respectively). Phonological features are associated with terminal nodes at MS; semantic features are inserted into terminal nodes at LF.

We will therefore start from the assumption that the particle is syntactically represented as the head of a phrasal complement of the verb. This explains the separability of particle verbs without creating a conflictwith Lexical Integrity, since the particle and the verb do not form a lexical unit in overt syntax. At the interface level with the phonological component, the particle and the verb are still independent syntactic elements; the phonology "sees" the particle and the verb as two distinct heads. Thus, the particle is stressed like other (phrasal) secondary predicates would be (Winkler 1996). However, we assume that particles undergo abstract incorporation into the verb at LF. The terminal nodes of this complex V0 may serve as the target for late insertion of the semantics of both the particle and the verb. Crucially, the compositional meaning may be overwritten by idiosyncratic information, and the whole V0 is associated with the meaning of an idiomatic particle verb. Relying on Borer's (1988, 1991, 1993) Parallel Morphology-model, we will also assume that a complex X0-head can be derived both syntactically as well as pre-syntactically. This option is also available for particle verbs. A pre-syntactically derived complex V0 whose terminal elements correspond to the particle and the verb can therefore undergo further adjectival or nominal word formation. In contrast to what is assumed by most authors who advocate a "lexical" analysis to particle verbs (Neeleman 1994; Stiebels & Wunderlich 1994), it therefore can be shown that the morphological and idiomatic properties of this construction are well compatible with a syntactic representation in which the particle is the head of a phrase.