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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2018, Vol. 49, No. 4, Pages 813-845
(doi: 10.1162/ling_a_00290)
© 2018 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ɸ-Features at the Syntax-Semantics Interface: Evidence from Nominal Inflection
Article PDF (419.48 KB)
I argue for a novel model of feature valuation in the CI interface and explore under what circumstances a syntactic feature is semantically interpretable. As the groundwork for the investigation, I propose an explicit Distributed Morphology model of Italian nouns of profession. The data provide evidence that the morphology accesses the narrow-syntax representation at two different temporal points within a phase: the earlier point (Spell-Out) returns a morphological realization faithful to feature values present in narrow syntax, while the later point (Transfer) allows for a narrow-syntax representation to be enriched by the CI component. Thus, there is no syntactic distinction between interpretable and uninterpretable features: a syntactic feature appears to be interpretable only if it has been licensed by the CI interface.