Approaches to mismatch: introduction

Elaine J. Francis and Laura A. Michaelis

University of Hong Kong and University of Colorado


The term 'mismatch' has been used to describe a number of linguistic phenomena involving mappings between
(apparently) incongruent elements or structures, where incongruity is defined relative to some typical or
default condition.  Mismatch phenomena often defy principles of grammar designed to account for the ordinary default cases, and as a consequence they challenge us to develop new and better theories of grammar.  Mismatch phenomena have been crucial, for example, in the development of constraint-based parallel architecture theories.  They provide important evidence for distinctions among different levels of grammar, for the parallel representation of these distinctions, and for the existence of conflicting constraints.  The six papers presented at this Approaches to Mismatch workshop explore the consequences of various kinds of mismatch phenomena for theories of grammar.  The first two papers by Robert Malouf and Jerrold Sadock deal with issues about the consequences of mismatch phenomena for the architecture of grammar.  Malouf proposes a new construction-based model of constraint interactions, while Sadock argues in favor of a multi-modular theory of grammar.  The second two papers by Alex Alsina and Farrell Ackerman focus more specifically on the issue of mismatch in complex predicates.  Ackerman argues that complex predicate formation is a kind of lexeme formation, while Alsina analyzes three distinct kinds of complex predicates involving different kinds of mismatch.  Finally, de Swart and Michaelis discuss the mismatch phenomenon of aspectual coercion.  De Swart explores cross-linguistic variation in the division of labor between aspectual operators and coercion, while Michaelis argues in favor of a construction-based approach to coercion.