• Idiomatic Root Merge in Modern Hebrew blends

      Pham, Mike; University of Chicago (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2011)
      In this paper I use the Distributional Morphology framework and semantic Locality Constraints proposed by Arad (2003) to look at category assignments of blends in Modern Hebrew, as well as blends, compounds and idioms in English where relevant. Bat-El (1996) provides an explicit phonological analysis of Modern Hebrew blends, and argues against any morphological process at play in blend formation. I argue, however, that blends and compounds must be accounted for within morphology due to category assignments. I first demonstrate that blends are unquestionably formed by blending fully inflected words rather than roots, and then subsequently reject an analysis that accounts for weakened Locality Constraints by proposing the formation of a new root. Instead, I propose a hypothesis of Idiomatic Root Merge where a root can be an n-place predicate that selects at least an XP sister and a category head. This proposal also entails that there is a structural difference between two surface-similar phrases that have respectively literal and idiomatic meanings.