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2022 IUSS Linguistics Seminars - L&PIC - "Left-right asymmetries in Romance adjectives"
Esposizione data
16 Maggio 2022

Linguistics & Philosophy IUSS Center
2022 IUSS Linguistics Seminars

"Left-right asymmetries in Romance adjectives"

May 16th, 2022, h. 15.00-16.30

Maria Rita Manzini, University of Florence
Introduced by Andrea Moro, IUSS

In Romance, some As must be postnominal, while other As can be pre-or postnominal. Thus, Romance As present descriptive challenges, i.e. what are the actual properties of adjectives that go to the right or to the left, but they also face us with theoretical choices, e.g. the nature of linear order. In fact, the theoretical problem goes even deeper, since the position of modifiers at first merge is itself disputed. Roughly, for Kayne (1994) there is no adjunction and modifiers are Specs of functional heads. Chomsky (2004, 2020) models adjunction by pair merge. 
Empirically, I argue that semantics cannot provide us with contrasts aligning with the left/right asymmetry, contra Cinque (2010). Vice versa, it has long been known that the prenominal or postnominal position of As has reflexes at PHON. The classical example is French liaison (Bouchard 1998, Abeillé and Godard 1999). Here I consider differential plural marking (DPM, Manzini et al. 2021, 2020, 2021), i.e. the morphological distribution of plurals (e.g. -s) opposing D-A vs. N-A.  
Theoretically, the distinctive prenominal vs. postnominal distribution of simple As in Romance is imputed here to Pair Merge with (informally adjunction to) n and N respectively, while APs are Pair Merged with/adjoined to NPs.  As for DPM, the proposal of Manzini, Savoia and Baldi is that the relevant asymmetries correspond to the distinction between the head and edge of a phase and the complement of the phase, as independently defined for the purposes of the Phase Impenetrability Condition (PIC, Chomsky 2001). Following Chomsky (2020) I assume that n is the nominal phase head. Under the proposals put forth here, postnominal As are Pair Merged to N (and APs to NP), so that they are in the complement of the phase head n. Vice versa, material Pair Merged to n and appearing to its left is Spelled Out in the next phase up. Therefore the morphological discontinuity opposing D-A and N-A is defined by the break between complement of the nominal phase head (N-A) and edge of the phase (D-A).

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Luca Bischetti, luca.bischetti@iusspavia.it
Matteo Greco, matteo.greco@iusspavia.it