Is there any negative polarity in Romanian?
Abstract: I discuss the distribution and interpretation of the Romanian determiner vreun and analyze it as a special polarity item. I put forth the generalizations that capture its peculiar distribution: on the one hand, vreun has the behavior of a typical negative polarity item, and on the other hand, it occurs in positive (epistemic modal) contexts. Adopting the framework in Chierchia (2006), I argue it can be integrated in a system of polarity-sensitive items under the label NPI/existential FC. The alternatives this lexical item triggers give rise to a domain widening implicature in negative polarity contexts and to an anti-exhaustiveness implicature in existential modal ones.
Keywords: negative polarity, existential free-choice, implicature calculation, domain widening
Tense in embedded contexts: the case of Romanian
Abstract: This paper discusses the status of Romanian tenses with respect to the cross-linguistic typology, which distinguishes between Sequence of Tense (SOT) and non-SOT languages. The major difference between SOT languages (English) and non-SOT languages (Japanese/Russian) is that in the former, past under past yields a simultaneous reading whereas in the latter, present under past yields a simultaneous construal. On traditional tense analyses, the simultaneous construals in SOT languages arise via a “null” (past) tense, while in non-SOT languages, simultaneous construals arise via either a “null” tense (Japanese) or a “shifted indexical” present tense (Russian). I examine the distribution of Romanian past and present in subordinate contexts and show that (i) past always expresses anteriority and (ii) present is indexical under past and the realization of a “null” tense under a matrix future. I discuss the simultaneous construal of the Romanian present in complement clauses in the light of two major theories of shifting indexicals and show that neither gives a neat account of the Romanian data.
Keywords: null tense, indexical present, shifting indexical, Sequence of Tense, Romanian present.
Perfect and imperfect modals in Romance. Some syntactic remarks on the tense/modality interaction
Abstract: This paper addresses the interplay between Tense-Aspect and Modality in Romanian and some Romance languages, in ambiguous sentences that exhibit what has been called “perfective raising”. It is observed that Romanian does not behave like French, for instance, inasmuch perfective forces actuality entailment on modals. I show that this contrast is connected to the structure of Romanian modal sentences: as commonly assumed in the literature, modal verbs in Romanian behave like lexical verbs with clausal complements; they have their own temporal-aspectual domain, which has to obey interpretive constraints. I propose that the ambiguity between root and epistemic readings in the perfective is the effect of two combined factors: perfective/imperfective Aspect and a high degree of grammaticalization of the modal (i.e. monoclausal structures for modals).
Keywords: epistemic vs. abilitative readings of modals, actuality entailment (AE), perfective raising, restructuring.
Ilinca Crăiniceanu and Ileana Baciu
On the (a)telicity property of English verb phrases
Abstract: The aim of the paper is that of offering an overview of various executions of the aspectual notions of (a)telicity in the current literature. The core idea is that in English the telic-atelic contrast is compositionally computed at the level of VP or IP. We discuss (a)telicity of complete VPs in the analyses put forward by Krifka (1989, 1992, 1998), Rothstein (2008), Filip (2008), and Landman and Rothstein (2008).
Keywords: (a)telic predicates, quantization, cumulativity, event maximalization, incremental homogeneity.
Begin and start: aspect and complement choice
Abstract: The paper offers a semantic analysis of begin and start and their non-finite complementation: the to-infinitive and –ing constructions. The core idea of the paper is that the aspectual constructions ‘begin+ to infinitive’, ‘begin + ing’, ‘start+ to infinitive’, and ‘start+ ing’ have both a schematic and a prototypical meaning, and that the subtle differences between them are motivated by several factors, like viewing (perfectivity vs. imperfectivity), temporality (future orientation vs. ongoing reading) dynamicity (graduality vs. abruptness), agentivity, etc.
Keywords: begin, start, to infinitive, –ing complements, prototypical meaning, schematic meaning
Some remarks on right node raising in Romanian
Abstract: Coordinate clauses with a common constituent in final position give rise to an interesting construction (Mary likes, but John hates cats), in which the constituent at the right edge of the first conjunct is missing. This phenomenon, known in the literature as Right Node Raising, has been analyzed either as an instance of movement or as an instance of ellipsis in the first conjunct. Starting from Hartmann (2000), Abels (2004) and Ha (2006), who argue in favour of an in-situ analysis of Right Node Raising, we focus on the licensing conditions on Right Node Raising in Romanian. The paper is organized in two sections. First we outline the deletion/ellipsis analyses of Right Node Raising constructions in English. Then we present empirical data related to the pre-Right Node Raising elements, the types of right-peripheral constituents that can be elided and the contexts which allow or block Right Node Raising in Romanian.
Keywords: right node raising, conjunct, ellipsis, target, islands.
Some remarks on Romanian reflexive verbs derived by the prefix în
Abstract: The paper discusses a small group of Romanian reflexive verbs, denominals derived by means of the prefix în, as well as a group of transitive verbs which are reflexivized. Their behaviour will be briefly considered. A search on the Internet has also been made alongside the dictionary study in order to gain an insight into the frequency of use of certain forms.
Keywords: denominal verbs, reflexives, reflexivization, unaccusativity
Gender on definite pronouns
Abstract: This paper explores some issues related to the interpretation of gender on definite pronouns. Gender in definite pronouns (i.e. personal and demonstrative pronouns) may either reflect the gender of the noun of the antecedent (grammatical gender) or a property of the referent (natural gender). We can note, across languages, that natural gender may override grammatical gender for persons but not for inanimates. I explain this by assuming that neuter natural gender means lack of descriptive content, the inanimate interpretation arising from an implicature, and that a general principle requires pronouns to bear a descriptive specification whenever possible (this specification can be represented either by nominal anaphora or by the descriptive content of natural gender). It follows that neuter natural gender is only used for entities which do not fall under a nominal concept (propositional objects, denoted by clauses, and uncategorized perceptual objects). In languages with the two-fold opposition masculine/feminine, special pronouns lacking grammatical gender (the so-called call ‘neuter pronouns’) are used for entities which do not fall under a nominal concept. Romanian patterns with these languages, which supports the idea that Romanian does not have a three-gender system, but a two-gender one. Having established that in Romanian the category of Gender does not have more than two values, I discuss several possible analyses of the so-called ‘neuter’ nouns in this language, concluding that genders must be distinguished from nominal agreement classes, as proposed by Corbett (1991). Romanian can be described as having two genders and three nominal classes. A minimalist formalization of this distinction is put forth, which is based on Ritter’s (1993) proposal that Gender is generated on Num in Romance languages.
Keywords: definite pronouns, gender, semantics, neuter pronouns, Romanian neuter
Alina Tigău and Florina Pagurschi
The alternation null-overt in the interpretation of pronouns in discourse
Abstract: This paper examines the difference in interpretation between null and overt third person singular pronouns in subject position in Romanian from a Centering perspective (Grosz and Sidner 1986, Grosx et al. 1995, Brennan et al. 1987). Our goal is to verify two hypotheses. First, we argue that the null pronoun is preferred over the overt one when it co-refers with the center of the previous sentence. Secondly, we claim that null pronouns are generally used in Continue transitions, while overt subjects occur in Shift transitions. The conclusion shows that, in Romanian, the null pronoun encodes the most prominent entity of the preceding utterance which has been identified with the subject in most of the cases discussed. The general tendency of null pronouns to appear in Continue transitions has also been verified, although we have also found situations in which overt forms are used to mark continuity.
Keywords: null pronouns, overt pronouns, salience, continuity, coherence.
The silence of exclamation: exclamative constructions, singular indefinite predicates and silent nouns
Abstract: The goal of this analysis is to compare constructions containing singular indefinite predicates (SIPs) of the type ‘Ion e un ţăran/Ion is a peasant’ with N of N constructions of the type ‘ţăranul de Ion’/peasant-the of Ion’ and explore the role that the degree operator and silent nouns play. The investigation of exclamative constructions will prove instrumental in determining the range of Romanian silent nouns. Singular indefinites in predicate position (predicated of humans) contain a silent noun, and are defined as evaluative modifiers. The relation between N of N constructions (which express negative or positive evaluation) and SIPs is marked by the presence of a semi-lexical noun TYPE.
Keywords: exclamative, silent nouns, bare predicates, SIPs, N of N
On the alternation between inflectional case and prepositional phrases in Romanian
Abstract: The goal of this paper is to examine the alternation between nominal expressions marked with morphological case (e. g. fiul regelui “the king’s son”) and certain prepositional phrases (e. g. fiul de rege ‘the royal son’) in Romanian. We will show that the two types of constructions are alike insofar as they involve a relation which may either pertain to the lexical meaning of the head N or else be contextually triggered by the presence of the second argument. We will also observe that they differ regarding the nature of the second argument: a strong correlation can be shown to exist between syntactic categories (DPs vs. NPs), Case marking (morphological vs. prepositional) and semantic type (individuals vs. properties).
Keywords: (inflectional/morphological) case, preposition(s), entity, property
Andrei A. Avram
The development of syllable structure in Cape Verdean Creole
Abstract: The paper examines syllable restructuring in the Santiago variety of Cape Verdean Creole. It is shown that currently attested forms reflect to some extent the syllable structure in earlier stages of the language. Several strategies for syllable restructuring are identified and illustrated. These repair strategies are shown to operate in Mandinka and Wolof, the two main substrate languages of Cape Verdean Creole, as well as in Guinea-Bissau Creole, a closely related Portuguese-lexified creole. A tentative relative chronology of the stages conducive to the present syllable structure of Cape Verdean Creole is outlined. Also discussed are some of the theoretical implications of the findings.
Keywords: Cape Verdean Creole, syllable structure, syllable restructuring, aphesis, epenthesis, deletion
Hong Kong English: phonological features
Abstract: The aim of the paper is to present phonological features of Hong Kong English, which is a variety of New English. I examine features of the sound system (vowel and consonantal systems), characteristics of stress, rhythm, intonation, and phonological processes of the English spoken by Hongkongers. The way in which the accent and characteristics of the Hong Kong variety of English differs from standard, RP English is pointed out. Influences of Chinese and Cantonese on the phonological features of Hong Kong English are noticeable.
Keywords: Hong Kong English, phonological processes, vowels, consonants, Cantonese influence