Publication details

Syncretism as a tool for probing syntactic structure: the case of =


CAHA Pavel

Year of publication 2022
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

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Description The talk investigates a curious instance of morphological syncretism between the genitive singular and the nominative plural. The syncretism is found in Czech and a couple of other languages. The traditional approach considers this homophony a prototypical instance of an accidental syncretism and accounts for it by a rule of referral or similar. In contrast, Nanosyntax (as well as other syntax-oriented theories) provides tight constraints on syncretism. One specific idea is that syncretism reveals structural containment (an effect of the Superset Principle). If we adopt this syntax-centered perspective on syncretism, we must apparently adopt the surprising conclusion that either the syntactic structure of the nominative plural contains the syntactic structure of the genitive singular or vice versa. The talk argues that this conclusion is, in fact, correct, and moreover, it represents a specific instance of a general constraint on syncretism between mass nouns, count nouns and plurals.

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