The diachrony of verbalizers in Indo-European

Where does v come from?




Morphology, Morphosyntax, Reanalysis, Cyclical change, Derivation, categorizing morphology, Ancient Greek, Latin, German


This paper discusses directionality in the diachrony of derivational morphology, specifically the rise of new verbalizers (v) through reanalysis of nominal morphology in highly synthetic, fusional (older) Indo-European languages. It is argued that these changes can be understood as instances of “Upwards Reanalysis”, as argued by Cournane (2014) for the diachrony of modal auxiliaries, and thus instantiating the Late Merge Principle (e.g., van Gelderen 2013). I discuss three case studies that show this kind of n ? v reanalysis in the context of denominal verb formation and its interaction with concomitant argument structure changes. Tying argument structure change to changes in categorizing and derivational morphology constrains the predicted directions of change in verb meaning(s). Moreover, in syntactic approaches to word formation such as Distributed Morphology, the parallelism in directionality between morphological and syntactic instances of reanalysis is entirely expected and follows from general assumptions of computational economy during the L1 acquisition process.