AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Headedness in word formation and lexical semantics : evidence from Italiot and Cypriot

by Μάριος Ανδρέου

Institution: University of Patras
Year: 2014
Keywords: Morphology; Lexical semantics; Head; Dialectology; 417.2; Μορφολογία; Λεξική σημασιολογία; Κεφαλή; Διαλεκτολογία
Record ID: 1153239
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10889/8466


The thesis aims to sort out some of the confusions associated with head, focusing on headedness in Word Formation and Lexical Semantics. In particular, the purpose of my thesis is to enquire into the notion head with focus on the following three issues: (a) delimitation, (b) position, and (c) presence and absence of head in morphological configurations. In a nutshell, the main proposals with respect to headedness in morphology and lexical semantics are as follows: (a) Most of the assumed head-like notions, such as the subcategorizand, the morphosyntactic locus, and the obligatory constituent, might very well not be relevant to the head-nonhead asymmetry. (b) The head for the purposes of morphology should be identified with the category determinant and with the ontological class determinant as far as lexical semantics is concerned. (c) The enquiry into the postulation of functions and arguments reveals that non-argument taking inflection and derivation should be accounted for by the mechanism of subordination of functions without indexation of arguments. This has implications for the way we classify morphemes in lexical semantics. (d) With respect to the position of head, the phenomenon of left-headed [N N]N compounds in Italiot-Greek should not be studied independently of the same phenomenon evident in previous evolutionary stages and in other dialects. (e) In addition, morphology does not combine and manipulate asymmetric relations only (see Di Sciullo 2005), for morphemic order is amenable to change and variation may arise inside the morphological system of a language. (f) From a diachronic point of view, the order of constituents in compounds may not be autonomous from syntax since the head-nonhead linearization inside compounds cannot change without previous change in the head-nonhead order in syntactic constructions. (g) With respect to the absence of head, the analysis of the compound patterns which are considered to be exocentric reveals that exocentric compounds are bracketing paradoxes which involve compounding and derivation in this particular order. In this respect, I part company with previous analyses which identify exocentricity based on the hyponymy test and which collapse exocentricity and semantic non-compositionality.