Clause Structure and the Grammar of Incorporation
Noun Incorporation has attracted considerable attention in the literature of both syntax and morphology, because it involves the construction of units that are unquestionably words from material that gives the appearance of having been combined within the syntax. If this impression is indeed correct, this operation presents an important prima facie problem for most versions of the Lexicalist Hypothesis. It is argued that much Noun Incorporation is in fact lexical, not syntactic. In fact, the limited sets of data for which the syntactic account is still said to be necessary can also be accommodated within the lexical account, without invoking extraordinary mechanisms. That means that a purely lexical account of Noun Incorporation, without syntactic movement, is almost certainly possible. But that, in turn, means that the best putative support for an operation of syntactic Head Movement may be non-existent — a conclusion with extensive consequences for many areas of contemporary syntax.
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