Structure, Architecture, and Blocking


Embick and Marantz (2008) present an analysis of the Danish Definiteness alternation involving a postsyntactic rule of Local Dislocation (an operation that is sensitive to linear adjacency but not hierarchical structure). Examination of a fuller range of data reveals that the alternation cannot be determined strictly in terms of adjacency, but rather depends on the structural relation (specifically, sisterhood) between the D and the N. We propose to treat the alternation as an instance of conditioned allomorphy, the suffixal form appearing when D is sister to a minimal N, and the free article elsewhere. This alternation is, then, a case of “blocking” in the sense accepted by Embick and Marantz (2008); the result of competition between VIs for the expression of a morpheme. Assuming that the condition for wordhood is being a complex head, we argue that the distinction between free and bound morphemes, and whether bound morphemes are prefixes or suffixes, must be encoded in the VIs spelling out the morphemes.

Jorge Hankamer
Publication date: 
January 1, 2018
Publication type: 
Recent Publication
Jorge Hankamer and Line Mikkelsen, "Structure, Architecture, and Blocking", Linguistic Inquiry 49 (2018) 61-84