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The Morphology of German Particle Verbs: Solving the Bracketing Paradox

Stefan Müller
In: Frank van Eynde; Lars Hellan; Dorothee Beermann (Hrsg.). Proceedings of the HPSG-2001 Conference, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, August 3-5. International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG), Trondheim, Pages 247-266, CSLI Publications, 2002.


Inflectional affixes are sensitive to morphological properties of the elements they attachto. Therefore Bierwisch (1987) suggested that the inflectional material is combinedwith both the verbal stem of simplex verbs and the verbal stem of particle verbs. Heargued that this leads to the bracketing paradox in the case of particle verbs since thesemantic contribution of the inflectional information scopes over the semantic contri-bution of the complete particle verb. This paradox will be discussed in section 2.1.In section 2.2, I will discuss nominalizations and adjective derivation, which are alsoproblematic because of various bracketing paradoxes. In section 3 I will suggest a solu-tion to these apparent paradoxes that assumes that inflectional and derivational prefixesand suffixes always attach to a form of a stem that contains the information about a pos-sible particle 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 inflectionand derivation. With such an approach no rebracketing for the analysis of particle verbsmechanisms are necessary.