Dispensing with Unwanted Polysemy: Verbal Idioms and the Lexicon
AbstractThe paper focuses on verbal idioms and their place in the lexicon. I discuss their morphosyntactic properties and effects observed for copredication. The data show that verbal idioms can be neither stored as atomic items, nor can their parts be treated as polysemous, i.e. as including “standard” and idiomatic meaning. I argue that a plausible result can be achieved by combining the framework of Distributed Morphology with Chomsky’s recent version of cyclic derivation. Viewed from that angle, idioms can be treated as emerging from derivational layers yielding a kind of structural coercion in the sense of Harley & Noyer (2000).