Formatting Lexical Entries: Interface Optionality and Zero

by Joseph Emonds

Transformationalists (including minimalists) currently assume that (i) particular grammars reduce to the store of closed class lexical items, and (ii) syntactic structures project directly from lexical items. But they seem satisfied with common sense specifications of ``possible lexical items.'' This study moves beyond this vague pre-theoretical stage, focusing on how best to lexically notate optionality and null realizations at both the PF and LF interfaces. It argues that both the symbolÉ” and the parenthesis notation express linguistically significant generalizations in each of the phonological, syntactic, and contextual parts of lexical entries. As discussed here, their proper definitions allow us to construct simple and in principle easily learned lexical entries which fully explain many alternations between null and non-null PF allomorphs and between distinct yet partly similar interpretations of other grammatical morphemes such as English of, to, there, from, it, -ing, -en and Japanese -(r)are.

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