Event structure and argument realization in English zero-derived nominals with particles

  • Gianina Iordachioaia University of Stuttgart
Keywords: zero-drived nominals, particle verbs, morphosyntax, argument structure, lexical semantics


This paper is concerned with the morphosyntax of deverbal zero-derived nominals (e.g., to climb > a climb), which have received much less attention in the literature than suffix-based nominals (cf. the climb-ing, the examin-ation, the assign-ment). In the generative literature, in particular, after Grimshaw’s (1990) seminal work on suffix-based nominals and their possibility to inherit verbal event and argument structure, zero-derived nouns have been claimed to lack such properties: e.g., in syntax-based models of word formation, which take argument realization in deverbal nouns to indicate the inheritance of functional structure from the base verb, they have been analyzed as derived not from a verb but from an uncategorized root, as implemented in Borer (2013). Following Rappaport-Hovav and Levin’s (1998) theory of event structure and argument realization, I investigate zero-derived nouns built from verbs with preposed and postposed particles and show that they may realize argument structure on their event readings, which can only come about from the event structure of their base verbs.