Sascha Alexeyenko (Göttingen)

(Dis)obeying the Head-Final-Filter

— joint work with Hedde Zeijlstra (Göttingen) —

Modifiers in many languages are subject to a well-known constraint that disallows them to be not head-final, whence the ungrammaticality of, e.g., English "a proud of his son father". Although there are several accounts available in the literature that attempt to derive this constraint (e.g., Abney 1987, Escribano 2004, Sheehan 2017), none of them appears to be fully satisfactory in terms of data coverage given that the head-final constraint does not always apply both within an individual language (cf., e.g., "an easy to read text" in English) and cross-linguistically, as a number of languages do not seem to obey to it, including Bulgarian, Latin, Modern Greek, Polish, and Russian. This talk first refines the empirical generalization showing that the constraint in question cannot be formulated in terms of head-finality. It then proposes an alternative analysis according to which the adjacency requirement with respect to attributive adjectives and their modified nouns comes about as a result of the interplay between intervention effects and constraints on linearization of inflectional morphology.