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The strict locality and semantics of participant number

Emily Drummond
University of California, Berkeley
November 15, 2019 - 1:30pm
Margaret Jacks Hall, Greenberg Room (460-126)

Participant number refers to verbal marking that tracks the notional number of internal arguments, which can be marked by suppletion, reduplication, or a segmental affix. Based on suppletive instances of participant number, Bobaljik & Harley (2017) argue for a morphosyntactic account, whereby verbs undergo root suppletion conditioned by number features on the complement DP; in doing so, they widen the domain of suppletion from within a head (X0) to within a maximal projection (XP). I argue that this wider domain is not necessary to capture participant number, and that a morphosyntactic analysis makes several untenable typological predictions. As an alternative, I propose a strictly local, compositional semantic account: a verb-internal functional node that introduces a cardinality presupposition on the first argument to compose with the verb.

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