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Linguistic Inquiry

Summer 2013, Vol. 44, No. 3, Pages 493-517
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00136)
© 2013 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Roots and the Derivation
Article PDF (614.12 KB)

Contrary to recent work in Distributed Morphology adopting Early Root Insertion (the notion that Roots are present from the outset of the syntactic derivation), we argue that Late Insertion applies to Roots just like other morphemes. We support this conclusion with empirical evidence (Root suppletion and hyponymous direct objects in noun incorporation and related constructions) and conceptual considerations (including the beneficial obviation of readjustment operations and the possibility that narrow syntax is universal). Additional data (Latin semideponent verbs) allow us to recast Embick’s (2000) licensing analysis of Latin deponent verbs as a further argument for Late Root Insertion.