Monday Colloquium: The relation between head movement and periphrasis

Karlos Arregi (University of Chicago)
Event time: 
Monday, March 4, 2024 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Dow Hall room 201 (LingSem) See map
Event description: 
In joint work with Asia Pietraszko, I’ve been investigating the relation between head movement and the synthesis-periphrasis distinction in the verbal domain. We use the term “synthesis” to refer to verbal expressions in which the lexical verb bears all the verbal inflection in a clause (e.g. “rode” in English). In contrast, a periphrastic verbal expression additionally contains an auxiliary verb (specifically, “be” or “have”), and verbal inflection is distributed between the lexical verb and the auxiliary (e.g. “had ridden”).

We argue for two crosslinguistic generalizations: T-V Optionality and *V-Aux. According to T-V Optionality, languages vary as to whether T is in a head-movement relation with a verb. *V-Aux states that in periphrasis, the lexical verb and the auxiliary cannot be related by head movement. Existing analyses of periphrasis can account for one or the other generalization, but not for both.

We further argue that this tension between the two generalizations is resolved if we adopt the hypothesis that both head movement and periphrasis are tied to selection. More specifically, we propose that head movement is parasitic on a selectional relation (following Svenonius 1994, Julien 2002, Matushansky 2006, and Preminger 2019) and that auxiliaries are merged as specifiers selected by functional heads such as T.

Event Type: