University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


Providing novel evidence from discontinuous predicates in Cantonese, this paper argues that partial deletion applies to the word level. A number of disyllabic verbs in Cantonese may appear as discontinuous strings where the two syllables are separated by suffixes and/or phrasal elements. We propose that their derivation involves a conspiracy of multiple operations in Narrow Syntax and in the Phonological Form (PF): (i) verb movement in Narrow Syntax creates copies; (ii) affixes induce a PF syllable deletion rule on the higher copy; (iii) partial Copy Deletion applies to the lower copy. Consequently, partial deletion not only applies to phrasal constituents (Fanselow and Cavar 2002), but also to words/heads. We also maintain a relatively conservative understanding of Copy Deletion by scattering the deletion to a PF deletion rule and Copy Deletion, where the partial effect is due to disruption of the latter by the former.



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