Roots into functional nodes: Exploring locality and semi-lexicality

Victor Acedo-Matellán, Cristina Real-Puigdollers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We explore certain predictions of the theory first presented in Acedo-Matellán and Real-Puigdollers (2014), whereby roots correspond to (lately inserted) Vocabulary Items that phonologically and semantically interpret functional nodes. First, we deal with categorizers (a, n, v), a prominent locus for the insertion of roots. Roots such as cat or up are Vocabulary Items that have no context of insertion and are insertable into any categorizer, accounting for the categorial variability of simple words. Derivational affixes like -ation or -al also correspond to roots inserted into little head categorizers (n and a, respectively, in this case), but their Vocabulary Items have a context of insertion accounting for their categorial rigidity and their c-selection properties. The exploration proposed here focuses, first, on the locality properties of morphemic interactions at the semantic interface, namely, allosemic interactions. We show that our approach makes felicitous predictions seemingly unavailable to those other localist approaches in which roots are distinct nodes in the syntax. Second, we show that the phenomenon of semi-lexicality, as illustrated by classifiers, can be successfully modeled, in our framework, as the insertion of roots into inflectional nodes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-436
Number of pages26
JournalThe Linguistic Review
Issue number3
Early online date28 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2019


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