A Diachronic Account of τ–Features and of Their Output as Vocabulary Items: On the Limits to the Vocabulary Item Ø
Keywords:t-features, diachronic perspective, Ø-Vocabulary Item vs. nonexponence, Elsewhere condition, morphological distinctiveness between Present and Past relative to Agreement
Assuming basic tenets of Distributed Morphology and likewise the minimalist framework of Agree, it is argued that the segmentation into Vocabulary Items (VIs) of the Past forms of verbs in Present Day English is as in e.g. deem-ed rather than deem-ed-Ø. The generalized position in the literature is for the Ø-VI to be subject to the Elsewhere condition, which entails that the proper form is deem-ed, that is the form with non-exponence after -ed. The main purpose of the discussion is to give evidence of the Elsewhere condition, and I propose to do so by taking a diachronic perspective and tracking down the relevant changes affecting verbal morphology in the language. It is argued that there are three types of τ–features in Old English and that the specific τ–feature that has as output the VI´s that are commonly referred to as subject agreement endings, which are those among which the Ø-VI steadily imposes itself from the end of the Old English period, is a τ–feature that combines φ– and τ–interpretation. The feature is labelled here [+/–past]AgrT and its τ–interpretation is identified as [morphological distinctiveness between Present and Past relative to Agreement]. The progressive imposition of the Ø-VI entails that the specific content of the cited [morphological distinctiveness…] varies in time, which variation is given diverse formulations throughout the discussion with the help of the Subset Principle requirements. The ultimate formulation is reached after analyzing the differences and similarities between English and Danish–Swedish being another case in point–as regards morpho-phonological loss and the connection with V-to-T movement. The cited formulation entails that the Ø-VI is not available if it is the only VI realizing a given formal feature (note the Elsewhere condition). A corollary of the account is for Present Day English, or rather from the English language from the eighteenth century onwards, not to rely on one binary feature like [+/–past] but on two privative features, each of a different type .
ANDERSON, Stephen R. 1992. A-Morphous Morphology. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511586262
BAMMESBERGER, Alfred. 1986. Untersuchungen zur vergleichenden Grammatik der germanischen Sprachen. Heidelberg: Winter.
BANDLE, Oscar, ed. 2005. The Nordic Languages. An International Handbook of the History of the North Germanic Languages. Volume 2. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter.
BEAL, Joan C. 2004. English in Modern Times. 1700-1945. London: Arnold.
BJORKMAN, Brownwyn M. and Hedde Zeijlstra. 2019. "Checking Up on (φ-)Agree." Linguistic Inquiry 50: 527-569. https://doi.org/10.1162/ling_a_00319
BLAKE, Norman, ed. 1992. The Cambridge History of the English Language. Volume II: 1066-1476. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521264754
BOBALJIK, Jonathan. 2003. "Realizing Germanic Inflection: Why Morphology Does Not Drive Syntax." Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 6: 129-176. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023669927250
BOBALJIK, Jonathan. 2017. "Distributed Morphology." In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Mark Aronoff, ed. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199384655.013.131
BOBALJIK, Jonathan and Höskuldur Thráinsson. 1998. "Two Heads Aren't Always Better than One." Syntax 1: 37-71. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9612.00003
BRUENING, Benjamin, Yoonjung Kang and Martha McGinnis, eds. 1997. Papers at the Interface. Vol. 30, MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.
CASTILLO, Concha. 2022. "The Derivation of Verbs in Old English and Middle English." Complutense Journal of English Studies 30: 23-37. https://doi.org/10.5209/cjes.80187
CHOMSKY, Noam. 2000. "Minimalist Inquiries: The Framework." In Roger, Michaels and Uriagereka 2000, 89-155.
CHOMSKY, Noam. 2001. "Derivation by Phase." In Kenstowicz 2001, 1-52.
EMBICK, David. 2015. The Morpheme: A Theoretical Introduction. Boston/Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781501502569
FERNÁNDEZ, Francisco. 1982. Historia de la Lengua Inglesa. Madrid: Gredos.
FULK, Robert D. 2018. A Comparative Grammar of the Early Germanic Languages. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. https://doi.org/10.1075/sigl.3
HAEBERLI, Eric and Tabea Ihsane. 2016. "Revisiting the Loss of Verb Movement in the History of English." Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 34: 497-542. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11049-015-9312-x
HAEGEMAN, Liliane, ed. 1997. The New Comparative Syntax. London: Longman.
HALE, Ken and Samuel Jay Keyser, eds. 1993. The View from Building 20. Essays in Linguistics in Honor of Sylvain Bromberger. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
HALLE, Morris. 1997. "Distributed Morphology: Impoverishment and Fission." In Bruening, Kang and McGinnis 1997, 425-449.
HALLE, Morris and Alec Marantz. 1993. "Distributed Morphology and the Pieces of Inflection." In Hale and Keyser 1993, 111-176.
HEWSON, John and Vit Bubenik. 1997. Tense and Aspect in Indo-European Languages. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.145
KARIMI, Simin, Vida Samiian and Wendy K. Wilkins, eds. 2007. Phrasal and Clausal Architecture: Syntactic Derivation and Interpretation. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/la.101
KENSTOWICZ, Michael, ed. 2001. Ken Hale: A Life in Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
KROCH, Anthony 1989. "Reflexes of Grammar in Patterns of Language Change." Language Variation and Change 1: 199-244. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394500000168
LAHIRI, Aditi. 2003. "Hierarchical Restructuring in the Creation of Verbal Morphology in Bengali and Germanic: Evidence from Phonology." In Lahiri 2003, 71-124. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110899917.71
LAHIRI, Aditi, ed. 2003. Analogy, Levelling, Markedness. Principles of Change in Phonology and Morphology. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110899917
LASS, Roger. 1992. "Phonology and Morphology." In Blake 1992, 23-155. https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521264754.003
LASS, Roger. 1997. "Phonology and Morphology." In Lass 1997, 56-186. https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521264761.004
LASS, Roger, ed. 1997. The Cambridge History of the English Language. Volume III: 1476-1776. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
MAILHAMMER, Robert. 2007. The Germanic Strong Verbs: Foundations and Development of a New System. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110198782
MARTIN, Roger, David Michaels and Juan Uriagereka, eds. 2000. Step by Step. Essays on Minimalist Syntax in Honor of Howard Lasnik. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
MØRCK, Endre. 2005. "Morphological Developments from Old Nordic to Early Modern Nordic: Inflextion and Word-Formation." In Bandle 2005, 1128-1148.
MOSSÉ, Fernand. 1952. A Handbook of Middle English. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press. https://doi.org/10.56021/9780801804786
NEVALAINEN, Terttu. 2006. An Introduction to Early Modern English. Oxford: Oxford UP. https://doi.org/10.1515/9780748626366
PESETSKY, David and Esther Torrego. 2007. "The Syntax of Valuation and the Interpretability of Features." In Karimi, Samiian and Wilkins 2007, 262-294. https://doi.org/10.1075/la.101.14pes
ROBERTS, Ian. 1993. Verbs and Diachronic Syntax. A Comparative History of English and French. Dordrecth: Kluwer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-2910-7
ROHRBACHER, Bernhard. 1994. "The Germanic Languages and the Full Paradigm: A Theory of V to I Raising." Ph.D. diss., University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
SCHÄUFELE, S. 1994. "Do as I Do, Not as I Say: A Study of the History of V-Agr Merger, VP-Negation, and Do-Support in English, 1350-1750." Ms., Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
SUNDQUIST, John D. 2003. "The Rich Agreement Hypothesis and Early Modern Danish Embedded-Clause Word Order." Nordic Journal of Linguistics 26: 233-258. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0332586503001094
TRØMMER, Jochen. 2012. "Ø-Exponence." In TrØmmer 2012, 326-354. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573721.003.0010
TRØMMER, Jochen, ed. 2012. The Morphology and Phonology of Exponence. Oxford: Oxford UP. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573721.001.0001
VIKNER, Sven. 1997. "V0-to-I0 Movement and Inflection for Person in All Tenses." In Haegeman 1997, 189-213.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Concha Castillo
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.