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On the syntactic expression of pejorative mood

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The hypothesis of the copy theory of movement forces us to look at mismatches between syntax and LF on the one hand, and syntax and PF on the other in particular ways, often revealing new insights. Through such a lens, we examine the syntactic expression of pejorative mood through echo reduplication, focusing on shm-reduplication in (varieties of predominantly American) English. It is argued that the two elements in a reduplicated structure form a chain of two left-peripheral positions that, due to a distinctness requirement within a Spell-Out unit for the Transfer to PF, cannot be mapped onto linear order. A number of seemingly unrelated facts are derived rather naturally: (i) English shm-reduplication cannot appear in an argument position; (ii) the two copies involved in shm-reduplication are strictly adjacent; (iii) the phonological phrasing of the two copies is not the intonation of a compound; (iv) the discourse context felicitating shm-reduplication is not out-of-the-blue; (v) no echo reduplication process yields the reverse order (e.g., with the echo reduplicant preceding the base); and (vi) echo reduplication is never the exponent of a Case- or wh-feature. One of the more general issues advanced in this paper is an investigation of the clausal realization of pejorative mood expression, whether expressed through shm-reduplication or by other means.
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Keywords: Copy Spell Out; English; Prolific Domains; mood; pejoration; reduplication; resumption; topicality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Cyprus 2: Harvard University

Publication date: 01 January 2004

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