Pseudo noun incorporation as covert noun incorporation: Linearization and crosslinguistic variation

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Pseudo noun incorporation (PNI) constructions in Sakha and Tamil obey a strict linear adjacency condition, such that not only the noun phrase (NP) but its head noun must be adjacent to the verb at phonological form (PF). I argue that this adjacency condition can be explained if the head of the NP adjoins to the verb to create a unit interpreted as a complex predicate at logical form (LF). The resulting structure can be linearized at PF if and only if no syntactic expression comes between the two copies of the noun, forcing adjacency on the construction. I also discuss two sources of variation in the syntax of pseudo noun incorporation: The fact that pseudoincorporated nominals are invisible for case and agreement in some languages (Tamil and Sakha) but not others (Hindi and Hungarian), and the fact that the adjacency condition is canceled in languages like Hindi, where Verb-to-Tense movement serves to break up the verb-noun phrase (V-NP) cluster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-46
Number of pages42
JournalLanguage and Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


  • Adjacency
  • Head movement
  • Linear order
  • Linearization
  • Pseudo noun incorporation


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