English possessive determiner phrases and coordination

Title: English possessive determiner phrases and coordination
Source document: Linguistica Brunensia. 2020, vol. 68, iss. 2, pp. 45-64
  • ISSN
    1803-7410 (print)
    2336-4440 (online)
Type: Article

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

This paper suggests an analysis of English possessives and coordination that is compatible with the treatment of Germanic pronominal case developed by Parrott within the Distributed Morphology framework. On Parrott's approach, the non-possessive pronoun case forms of English and Danish result from morphosyntactic contextual allomorphy and do not expone syntactic Case features. A wellknown phenomenon motivating the proposal is case-form variation in coordinate DPs (CoDPs); however, beyond footnotes, Parrott has provided no account of possessive forms, in CoDPs or otherwise. Citing Zwicky, Parrott succinctly describes the distribution of possessives in coordination, observing that "Possessive morphology [only] seems possible either on both conjuncts of a CoDP or on the entire CoDP", while non-possessive pronouns in possessive CoDPs behave as they do in non-possessive CoDPs. To explain these facts, this paper takes English possessives to be exponents of the functional category D with a syntactic feature [Poss] that is interpretable at both interfaces. The first-merged internal argument of D[Poss] is the possessum; the second-merged external argument of D[Poss] is the possessor. The exponence of D[Poss] depends on whether its internal argument is a full Root-containing NP or a featureless category head n, and whether its external argument is a phi-containing category head n or a full DP. Non-possessive pronouns receive exponence as usual when they are inside a CoDP external argument of D[Poss]. When both DPs inside a CoDP are possessive, Right Node Raising (RNR) is implicated. No position is taken here on the correct analysis of RNR, but it offers a plausible explanation for the facts, since the "shared" NP object of both PossDPs must be symmetrically "raised" from coordination, just as with canonical RNR.
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