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      Against semantic features: the view from derivational affixes

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      Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
      Open Library of the Humanities

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          Abstract

          This paper builds a systematic argument against the existence of semantic features, although these would in principle conform with the understanding of features in Chomsky (1995) as instructions to the interfaces, to the Conceptual-Intentional Interface in this case. I first lay out their superfluous character as well as their redundancy in separationist / realisational approaches, and in non-lexicalist models of grammar, more generally. Under the assumption that lexical meaning in natural language is mediated by grammatical structure containing roots, (purely) semantic features would inevitably be restricted to “non-lexical” elements only, i.e. those derivational affixes that encode rich conceptual content. This makes the positing of semantic features methodologically suspect and, ultimately, redundant.Accordingly, the rich content of derivational affixes, which can involve pretty much any nominal concept (as in Acquaviva 2009) from ‘profession’, ’tree’, and ‘place’ to body parts, will be argued not to be encoded in terms of semantic features. On the contrary, this paper makes the case for derivational affixes not belonging to a unitary syntactic category, with some derivational affixes actually being roots interpreted in particular structural contexts, as has been argued already since De Belder (2011). The chapter closes by offering a taxonomy of the elements that grammar manipulates and sketches the division of labour between root structures and formal features.

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            Person and Number in Pronouns: A Feature-Geometric Analysis

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              Introducing Arguments

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Open Library of the Humanities
                2397-1835
                January 7 2024
                March 15 2024
                : 9
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Cyprus
                Article
                10.16995/glossa.10876
                f7801d89-082a-414a-a0a3-ff3819a0c9f0
                © 2024

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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