Linguistics Colloquia Series

On the interaction between syntax and postsyntax in Uzbek (non-)verbal predicate formation

Vera Gribanova

Department of Linguistics, Stanford University

Monday, January 29, 2018
11 a.m.–1:15 p.m.

Rush Rhees Library, Humanities Conference Room D

In this talk, I present novel evidence from Uzbek verbal and non-verbal predicate formation that bears on the nature of the interaction of several distinct word formation processes. This includes inversion/infixation, phonological support for stranded affixes, and a form of morphological merger. I first demonstrate that despite initial surface similarities, verbal and non-verbal predicates in Uzbek employ distinct word formation strategies along several parameters. I show that the formation of both verbal and non-verbal predicates can be analyzed in terms of the interaction between several syntactic and post-syntactic mechanisms, including head movement, Local Dislocation (Embick and Noyer 2001), merger under adjacency (Bobaljik 1994), and a phonological support mechanism akin to English do-support.

The theoretical landscape represented by Minimalism and Distributed Morphology leads us to expect that differences in the application of these operations in verbal vs. non-verbal predication should stem at least in part from differences in the underlying syntactic structures of these constructions. In the last part of the talk, I demonstrate that it is possible to derive the distinct verbal vs. non-verbal predication strategies from a basic organizing principle of the syntax of Uzbek, namely the availability of syntactic head raising for verbal, but not non-verbal, predicates. Evidence in favor of this syntactic claim is drawn from novel paradigms involving verb-stranding ellipsis in Uzbek.

The presentation is based on work in progress, and forms the foundation for a planned micro-comparative study of the syntax and postsyntax of predicate formation in the Central Asian Turkic languages.


  1. Bobaljik, Jonathan. 1994. What does adjacency do? MITWPL 22:1. 
  2. Embick, David and Rolf Noyer. 2001. Movement operations after syntax. Linguistic Inquiry 32(4): 555?595.
  3. Harley, Heidi. 2013. Getting morphemes in order: Merger, Affixation and Head-movement. Diagnosing Syntax, ed. L. Cheng & N. Corver. OUP.