Professor Jim McCloskey gave a colloquium talk at UConn on Jan. 31, 2014.
Title: Phasehood, the maximal verbal projection, and proverbs in Irish
Abstract: Since the introduction of the conception of a `split’ verbal projection in work of 1990’s, a great deal of interesting work has been devoted to exploring the architecture of the verbal projection in the new conception — engaging issues of phasehood, the syntax of voice, the locus of introduction of the external argument, and the syntactic autonomy of the projection of the verbal stem (so-called `big VP’). This talk engages those issues by way of an investigation of (nonfinite) verbal projections of various kinds in Irish. In particular, it argues (i) that there is strong morphosyntactic evidence for the phasehood of the maximal verbal projection, but that (ii) the phase-determining head cannot be the head which introduces the external argument (it is introduced by a head which is lower than the phase-defining head). Time permitting, the talk will also discuss evidence for the independent selection of `big VP’ (as in Wurmbrand’s celebrated work on restructuring in German) and, relatedly, for the morphosyntax of objecthood.