Heinz Giegerich (Edinburgh): Compounds in no-man’s land

Loading Map....

Date(s) - 25/02/2016
4:10 pm - 5:00 pm

University of Edinburgh - Dugald Stewart Building


Linguistic Circle talk by Heinz Giegerich (Edinburgh)

In this talk I hope to shed some light on the lexicon-syntax ‘divide’ assumed for example in Lexicalist formal grammar.

I argue that complex nominals of the attribute-head kind, where attribution is associative (rather than ascriptive) and/or where the attribute is a noun, are lexical in some respects while in other respects they are structurally accessible by syntactic operations and hence part of the syntax. They are hence formed in a part of the grammar where the lexical and the syntactic module overlap – a no-man’s land in the grammar governed by competing sets of principles.

This analysis, which concerns the ‘mainstream’ NN/AdjN compounding pattern of English, settles the long-running ‘compound-or-phrase’ question regarding English NNs: they are both. It also makes interesting ordering predictions: ascriptive adjectival attribution is purely syntactic and hence predicted to occur ‘outside’ associative or nominal attribution; and it creates space for probabilistic stress predictions within a formal model.

Part of the argument will arise from an analysis of ‘anaphoric’ compounds found in BBC News web-site headlines such as Boat wreckage fisherman rescued; Gay clergy book row priest removed; Badger pilot cull start sparks anger, New city school plans unveiled.

You may also like...