We are very happy to announce the next talk of this semester’s Syntax Colloquium, which will take place on Monday, Dezember 9, 4 – 6 pm in IG 4.301.

Francesco Pinzin will talk about „Latin verbal thematic vowels: aktionsart and overriding“.


Latin verbs show a set of vocalic elements before the Tense/Aspect/Mood morphemes, these elements are usually called Thematic Vowels (TVs):
laud-ā-ba-m mon-ē-ba-m
praise-tv1-impf-1sg advise-tv2-impf-1sg
TVs are mostly analyzed as empty class markers, whose value is purely morphological (a.o., Aronoff 1994). The existence of syntactically and semantically empty morphemes logically requires the existence a post-syntactic and purely morphological step in the derivation where to insert them, call it Morphological Structure, as in Distributed Morphology models, or Paradigmatic/Morphomic level, as in Words and Paradigms models. In this presentation I argue that, as far as Latin TVs are concerned, there is no need for such a step. The distribution of Latin TVs with respect to the morphological base they select, the aktionsart semantics of the verb and the other morphological elements realizing the Latin verbal structure is better understood analyzing them as regular Vocabulary Items which realize semantic-syntactic features. More precisely, I claim that (i) TV /ā/ is a productive agentive verbalizer, which is able to realize a whole agentive vP (see Fabregas 2018), (ii) TVs /ē/ and /ĭ/ are not autonomous morphemes but relictual endings of a vP allomorph of the verbal root and (iii) TV /ī/ has an ambiguous behavior between an autonomous morpheme and the ending of an allomorph of the root.


You are cordially invited!