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The Case of the Divisible Phase: Licensing Partitive Case in Finnish

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Abstract.  Case marking can interact with semantic interpretation in various ways, including differential case marking phenomena. This paper explores the interaction of partitive case in Finnish with the property of divisibility. It is argued that the appearance of partitive case can be related to divisibility. Most occurrences of partitive case are explained by a uniform treatment, which assumes that the divisibility of a phase affects the morphological realization of the [Case] feature minimally contained in the phase. This account extends to partitive case licensing by events; the case marked nominal itself; clausal negation; and prepositions as well. The discussion highlights the fact that morphological case is not necessarily determined by the licensing head. Instead, it can be determined within a local domain (a phase), the output of a cyclic Spell‐out system. The proposal also bears on issues such as the phasehood of DPs and the structure of restructuring constructions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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