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Linguistics Colloquium: David Embick, Professor, Linguistics University of Pennsylvania

APR 22, 2021 | 4:15 PM TO 6:15 PM



Online Event


April 22, 2021: 4:15 PM-6:15 PM




David Embick, Professor, Linguistics University of Pennsylvania presents:

Smaller structures for stative passives
Abstract: An idea that has been investigated in some syntactic approaches to morphology is that certain elements can enter the syntax in a way that involves only "small"- i.e., non-phrasal- structures. Recent applications of this idea are found in discussions of (certain) compounds, and of different types of derivational morphology (e.g. Embick 2016, Wood 2020). Stative passives (a.k.a. "adjectival
passives") like opened in The door is opened, or flattened in The metal is flattened, provide an interesting testing ground for syntactic approaches to word formation. On the one hand, they have
certain properties (concerning modification and perhaps argument-licensing) that might make this "direct attachment" or "small" analysis look appealing. On the other hand, they appear to scope over resultative secondary predicates and other vP internal material; this and other facts have led different researchers (Kratzer 2001, Embick 2004, and others in that vein) to propose that stative passives are (sometimes/always) phrasal.

A reconsideration of some of the facts about stative passives, along with a new look at how un-prefixation works, suggests that there are serious problems with a phrasal analysis. I show how these
difficulties can be overcome with "direct attachment" analyses of both the head realized as un- and certain stative passives, and point to the broader possibility that all stative passives in English might be
"small". More general implications of this line of argument, concerning how Roots are introduced into the syntax, and how arguments are licensed, are considered as well.

*Registration has closed for David Embick’s talk*