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Title: Projction and Inflection: A Study of Persian Phrase Structure
Authors: Ghomeshi, Jila
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Indo-Iranian Languages
Issue Date: 1996
Publisher: University of Toronto
Abstract: This thesis is based on the following pivotal assumptions about morphology and syntax: (a) that monosemy is desirable in grammar; (b) only inflectional and not derivational affixes can correspond to syntactic projections; (c) projection is driven by the features borne by lexical and functional categories; and (d) base-generated X0-adjunction is possible in the syntax. Starting with the distinction between inflectional and derivational affixes, the thesis is organized around the inflectional affixes of Persian and the range of constructions they occur in. First, in looking at the Ezafe vowel -e, it is argued that the distribution of this vowel is best accounted for if nouns do not project structure in Persian. This explains why no phrasal material occurs below the DP (Determiner Phrase). It is proposed that modifiers to the head noun occur in an X0-adjoined structure and that the Ezafe vowel is inserted at PF to identify potentially non-projecting heads as belonging to a single constituent. Turning to agreement in Persian, it is shown that the differences in the distribution of the pronominal enclitics and the agreement suffixes follow from morphological properties of these affixes. For example, the fact that the enclitics can only cooccur with null, definite, arguments while the subject agreement affixes can appear with any noun phrase is accounted for by subcategorization and case requirements of the affixes themselves. This analysis also explains the fact that the enclitics must occur outside subject agreement, even though they refer to the direct object. Further, the proposal that the pronominal enclitics identify pro in an argument position is shown to explain binding facts in Persian. Among the other inflectional morphemes considered in the thesis is the marker -râ which is shown to case-mark presupposed DPs in VP-adjoined position. It is argued that these DPs are construed as VP-level topics and a licensing condition is given to account for their occurrence. In general each of the language-particular constructions in Persian are shown to be accounted for by the morphological properties of the lexical items and inflectional morphemes involved.
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