Monotonicity at the lexical semantics – morphosyntax interface

Abstract

As has been observed in recent work by Levin and Rappaport Hovav (1998) and Lieber (2004), the structural side of word formation operations has been well-explored, often to the neglect of the semantic side, which is only recently receiving attention in light of advances made in lexical semantics. Work in this area, in my view, should aim to investigate what possible and impossible word formation operations are from a lexical semantic perspective, and, assuming that the semantics of word formation is not an “anything goes” type of system, explain why things are the way they are. That is, the central goal should be to explain why certain types of word formation operations are attested and why others, though conceivable, are not.

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