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Vortrag Martin Salzmann, 15.5.18, 17:30, 17.23

11. Mai 2018; Tobias Kerll

Displaced morphology in German verb clusters. An argument for post-syntactic morphology


In my talk, I will show that the placement of non-finite morphology within German verb clusters crucially depends on the order in the verbal complex. While nothing special happens if the cluster order is strictly descending (321), the morphology appears displaced in orders that deviate from in, i.e. appears on the "wrong" verb, usually at the end of the cluster, cf. the "zu" in "ohne das Buch haben lesen zu können" `without having been able to read the book'. I will argue that the placement can best be analyzed by means of a post-syntactic approach to morphology as in Distributed Morphology, where the exponents of non-finite morphology are inserted into separate syntactic heads and are associated with their verbal post by means of Local Dislocation, a late PF-operation that is constrained by adjacency. The major arguments for a post-syntactic approach (and against pre-syntactic morphology) are the following: First, the placement of non-finite morphology is not exclusively governed by hierarchical principles but is crucially affected by linear order; second, displacement has no semantic effects, as can be shown in the so-called participio pro infinitivo-construction, where participle morphology is displaced but not interpreted in its surface position. Third, displacement usually entails that several exponents need to be attached to a single verb, which often leads to conflicts and thus restricts displacement. These restrictions can be explained by means of the selectional properties of the vocabulary items. In one particularly interesting case, this can lead to a non-finite verb form that is specified for two non-finite categories. The data for my talk will mainly come from various German dialects, with a focus on Alemannic and East-Central German varieties. Time permitting, I will also discuss displacement of finite morphology in Swabian as in "er hod mer hälfa kochd" 'he helped me cook'.
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