restricted access The lexicalist hypothesis: Both wrong and superfluous


The lexicalist hypothesis, which says that the component of grammar that produces words is distinct and strictly separate from the component that produces phrases, is both wrong and superfluous. It is wrong because (i) there are numerous instances where phrasal syntax feeds word formation; (ii) there are cases where phrasal syntax can access subword parts; and (iii) claims that word formation and phrasal syntax obey different principles are not correct. The lexicalist hypothesis is superfluous because where there are facts that it is supposed to account for, those facts have independent explanations. The model of grammar that we are led to is then the most parsimonious one: there is only one combinatorial component of grammar that puts together both words and phrases.