Against category-less roots in syntax and word learning: objections to Barner and Bale (2002)
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This paper argues against analyzing grammatical category as a morphological epiphenomenon irrelevant for syntax. Using evidence from English and Greek it refutes the account in Barner and Bale [Lingua 112 (2002), 771], whereby coinages are derivations of the free syntactic insertion of roots in nominal and verbal environments, and presents evidence suggesting they are products of meta-linguistic processes. Rehearsing the discussion in Chomsky’s Remarks on Nominalization[Readings in English Transformational Grammar (1970) 184], the paper goes on to show that seeking to syntactically derive nouns and verbs from roots stumbles upon the idiosyncratic differences many noun–verb pairs display between them. Towards this, it foregrounds the role of non-zero derivational morphology in Greek and Hungarian.