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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2018, Vol. 49, No. 4, Pages 625-683
(doi: 10.1162/ling_a_00286)
© 2018 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Beware Occam’s Syntactic Razor: Morphotactic Analysis and Spanish Mesoclisis
Article PDF (897.61 KB)
Harris and Halle (2005) present a framework (Generalized Reduplication) that unites the treatment of phonological reduplication and metathesis with similar phenomena in morphology, thereby accounting for the apparently spurious placement of the imperative plural -n in mesoclitic Spanish forms such as hága-lo-n ‘Do it!’, in which clitic lo is sandwiched between the verbal stem and the plural suffix. Kayne (2010) has challenged their analysis, arguing that such cases should be treated purely within the syntax. We reassess some of Kayne’s arguments, agreeing with his conclusion that the most important desideratum of any general analysis of such phenomena is restrictiveness. However, we contend that greater restrictiveness can be achieved through morphotactic constraints and repairs in the Generalized Reduplication formalism, triggered by a Noninitiality constraint on the positioning of the plural affix, and we develop constraints on these operations that situate interspeaker variation within the postsyntactic component.