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English Auxiliaries as Tense Inflections

By Louisa Sadler


The standard view of English reduced auxiliaries takes them to be (postlexical) clitics (Kaisse 1983). However, Spencer (1991) puts forward some persuasive arguments that a subset of these forms, the non-syllabic reduced auxiliaries, are actually affixes (tense inflections) rather than clitics, while the syllabic reduced auxiliaries are post-lexical clitics. We accept the logic of Spencer's position, which maintains a clear separation between syntactic and morphological constituency and selection, and tolerates a mismatch between syntax and morphology. That is we accept that morphological and syntactic "wordhood" need not coincide. The aim of this paper is modest: we show how the architecture of LFG permits a simple and intuitive analysis of non-syllabic reduced auxiliaries. The analysis avoids compromising the principles of lexical integrity and phonology-free syntax but permits us to view the pronoun and the finite inflection as making separate contributions to the (syntactic) functi..

Year: 1997
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