Stefan Müller » Publications » Bracketing Paradox

Solving the Bracketing Paradox: The Morphology of German Particle Verbs

Author: Stefan Müller

Subject Areas: Morphology, Inflection, Derivation, Particle Verbs, Syntax, HPSG

Title: The Morphology of German Particle Verbs: Solving the Bracketing Paradox

This paper appeared 2003 in the Journal of Linguistics 39(2), pages 275-325.

An earlier version appeared in Frank van Eynde, Lars Hellan and Dorothee Beermann (Eds), 2002: Proceedings of the HPSG-2001 Conference, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Stanford: CSLI Publications, pages 247-266.

The fact that inflectional affixes always attach to the verbal stem leads to the bracketing paradox in the case of particle verbs since the semantic contribution of the inflectional information scopes over the complete particle verb.

Furthermore some derivational affixes (as for instance -bar) productively attach to transitive verbs only. If the direct object of a verb is licenced by the particle, this leads to another brackating paradox.

I will discuss nominalizations and adjective derivation, which are also problematic because of various bracketing paradoxes. I will suggest a solution to these paradoxes that assumes that inflectional and derivational prefixes and suffixes always attach to a form of a stem that contains the information about particles already, but without containing a phonological realization of the particle. The particle is a dependent of the verb and is combined with its head after inflection and derivation. With such an approach no rebracketing mechanisms are necessary.

Apart from morphological properties of particle verbs, I also discuss their syntactic properties and suggest a syntactic analysis. Therefore the analysis covers morphology, syntax, and semantics of particle verbs.

Draft of version that appeared in the Journal of Linguistics (47 pages):

Final version at Cambridge University Press:

CSLI Online-Proceedings (20 pages):