Verb allomorphy and the syntax of phases

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In a number of French-related creoles a distinction is made between long and short forms of verbs. We argue that the alternation is a reflex of French inflectional morphology that has survived the creolization process, showing that the result is a long-short opposition of verb forms, similar to the formal variation in the learner varieties, and therefore ultimately due to learner strategies in the acquisition of French as a second language. We further discuss the potential role of substrate and argue that the alternation started out as a phonological/prosodic phenomenon (as it basically still is in Haitian Creole). We conclude that the alternation (or verb allomorphy) can be seen as a morphological reflex of the Spell-Out domain at the vP-level.


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