This article examines the nominal inflectional system of a group of Asia Minor Greek dialects (Dawkins 1910, 1916), which developed, in parallel with the fusional inflectional system, an agglutinative one due to language contact with Turkish. We argue that the ‘old’ fusional ending or the theme vowel was reanalyzed as part of the nominal stem. This novel structure was actualized by means of two competing options: in some dialects, the reanalysis was actualized transparently in all inflectional forms rendering an agglutinative pattern of inflection, whereas in dialects with limited agglutination the actualization took the form of a special type of vowel assimilation. More specifically, as part of the nominal stem, the ‘old’ theme vowel signals its merge with the root by allowing it to absorb some or all of its features. Formally, the phonological process is treated as an instance of indirect licensing (Walker 2011), according to which the theme vowel acts as a trigger due to its privileged position as a segment of the categorizer n, i.e. the head of the stem.
There is little morphological evidence for little v as a verbalizing head in the literature. Greek, however, exhibits systematic verbalizing morphology and provides us with a strong case study for a robust morphophonological manifestation of the verbalizing v head. Evidence comes from the second-conjugation verbs (e.g., aɣap-ó ‘I love’, ster-ó ‘I deprive’), which display certain distinct morphophonological properties: (a) they take a vocalic extension in certain forms (e.g., aɣáp-i-s-a ‘I loved’) and (b) they exhibit post-root stress, unlike other verb forms (e.g., miní-o ‘I sue’, pal-év-o ‘I fight’). Following Spyropoulos et al. (2015), we argue that both characteristics reflect the morphophonological effects of the exponence of a verbalizing head v by means of an empty vocalic element V. Furthermore, we provide evidence that a set of verbalizers, almost exclusively identified with a number of derivational suffixes (e.g., -ev, -iz, -(i)az, -on, -ar and -en), are also exponents of this verbalizing v head which is distinct from Voice, is not correlated with agentivity, transitivity and inner aspect / Aktionsart, and, more importantly, do not follow the second conjugation pattern. We propose that the abstract vocalic slot and the verbal derivational suffixes compete for the same morphosyntactic position and that they are both exponents of the verbalizing head v.
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