Vol. XII Nr. 1
Jutta M. Hartmann
The predicate nominal analysis of English there-sentences
Abstract: In this article, I argue against the predicate nominal analysis of English there-sentences (especially Williams 1994, 2006 and Hazout 2004, 2008). The present analysis has several advantages, mainly because it takes into account the similarities of there-sentences with copula structures containing a predicate nominal. However, I will show that the two structures also differ in important respects. I propose an alternative analysis, in which the subject of predication is the pro-form there. However, in contrast to the predicate nominal analysis, I argue that the noun phrase projects an empty D-layer that introduces a variable. This variable is bound by existential closure giving rise to the existential interpretation of the structure. The whole predication structure is interpreted as locating an entity of the type and amount specified in the noun phrase at a given location to which the pro-form there refers.
Keywords: there-sentences, existentials, predicate nominal, predication, copula
Subject-verb number (dis)agreement
Abstract: This paper discusses cases of number mismatches between subjects and verbs. The main proposal is that subject-verb agreement is not in number but in a different feature, that we call Cardinality. Cardinality is a feature of DPs that is computed on the basis of number features and collectivity features carried by various heads in the DP. The “computation” of the Cardinality feature proceeds internal to the feature matrix of one lexical item – the D. The values of the number and collectivity features carried by various heads in the DP are transferred to the D by means of a feature checking mechanism and the value of the Cardinality feature is then derived from these.
Keywords: cardinality, collectivity, number, agreement, DP-shells
Infinitival relative clauses and Italian clefts
Abstract: This paper addresses the issue of the licensing of infinitival subject relative clauses by clefts. I claim that infinitival subject relatives are licensed by a contrastive focus. I assume that in Italian clefts always express a contrastive focus, which makes them licensors of infinitival subject relative clauses as opposed to English and French in which a cleft does not necessarily have to be contrastive. I furthermore claim that the infinitival relative clause is a complement, which would account for the fact that it allows extraction.
Keywords: cleft, infinitival relative clause, contrastive focus, Italian
Gabriela Bîlbîie and Frédéric Laurens
Towards a non-elliptical analysis of verbless relative adjuncts
Abstract: This paper presents an analysis of a set of Romanian and French adjuncts which are usually referred to as elliptical relative clauses. Despite the resemblance they bear to non-restrictive partitive relative clauses, these adjuncts cannot be analyzed as elliptical relative clauses for both syntactic and semantic reasons. A non-elliptical analysis in a construction-based grammar is then provided, which crucially relies on the two notions of fragment and cluster.
Keywords: ellipsis, fragment, relative clause, Romanian, French
A few remarks on Romanian supine relatives
Abstract: The aim of the current study is to examine the temporal values available for Romanian non-finite relatives containing supine verbal forms. Starting from the research in the area of the temporal interpretation of nominals, the paper highlights the mutual influence between the head nominal and the modifying Supine Relative as regards temporal interpretation. On the one hand, the semantics of the supine verb may locate the three times associated with nominal temporal interpretation: (i) the time of the nominal predicate, (ii) the time of the possessive relation or (iii) the time of existence of the entity denoted by the nominal in question (cf. Musan 1995, Lecarme 2005). On the other hand, from the three aforementioned times, only the third one affects the temporal interpretation of the adnominal participle in that a past time of existence of the entity denoted by the nominal head triggers a past interpretation of the modifying supine. These facts are accounted for within a novel theory, along the Cognitive Pragmatics of Sperber and Wilson (1986).
Keywords: nominal temporal semantics, reduced relatives, supine
On the morpho-syntactic properties of relational adjectives in Romanian and Spanish
Abstract: This paper analyzes the morpho-syntactic structure of a subclass of Relational adjectives, Th(ematic) adjectives within the framework of Distributed Morphology (Halle and Marantz 1993). Building on Bosque and Picallo’s (1996) classification of Relational adjectives, I show that Thematic adjectives differ from Classificatory adjectives in their ability to absorb thematic roles and to occur in the predicative position. I explain this difference on the basis of different internal morpho-syntactic structures. More explicitly, Th-adjectives are analysed as Genitive DPs with an empty D on a par with de Genitive phrases in Romance. In the absence of de last resort insertion, Th-adjectives check the Genitive case only nP internally, as a full Gen DP which is in long distance Agree with AgrP. This analysis has the merit of explaining the ungrammaticality of Th-adjectives with complex event nominals as they cannot check the telic aspect of complex event nominals in SpecGenP, outside nP (Cornilescu 2001).
Keywords: thematic adjectives, classificatory adjectives, de Genitive phrases, long distance Agree, complex event nominals
Alexandra Cornilescu and Alexandru Nicolae
On nominal ellipsis and the valuation of definiteness in Romanian
Abstract: The paper proposes a syntactic and interpretative account of nominal ellipsis in Romanian DPs. After reviewing previous accounts, we conclude that a suitable theory should unify total ellipsis (with no remnant) with partial ellipsis, (with at least one remnant). In the proposed theory, ellipsis is viewed as a discourse grammar phenomenon, presupposing the retrieval of suitable discourse antecedent. Since the ellipsis site is anaphorically related to the antecedent, it will be syntactically definite. Definiteness checking is thus obligatory in any DP which contains an ellipsis site, and it is this step which provides the unity of nominal ellipsis. Therefore, ellipsis is a double figure, involving both the anaphoricity of the elided NP and the contrastivity of the remnant (if present), a feature which triggers movement to the DP left periphery. In light of this theory, we examine two cases of nominal ellipsis in Romanian: partial ellipsis with cardinal remnants and total ellipsis.
Keywords: nominal ellipsis, anaphoricity, contrastivity, definiteness valuation, partitivity
The (non-)tree representability of syntactic objects. A graft-theoretical approach to nominal coordination
Abstract: The present paper deals with nominal coordination and the way Graft Theory can be applied to this domain. As introduced and defined by van Riemsdijk (1998, 2000 and 2001), Graft Theory was initially applied to the domain of syntactic amalgams (Lakoff 1974) and transparent free relative clauses. The paper claims that Graft Theory can equally apply to the domain of coordination and a range of syntactic phenomena that are associated with coordination. The main idea that this paper advances is that Graft Theory could solve the problem of syntactic representability with coordinate structures, which are known to pose serious difficulties for binary branching. By endorsing the main tenets of Graft Theory, the paper also touches upon an issue with far-reaching implications: the (im)possibility of representing certain syntactic objects as syntactic trees.
Keywords: nominal coordination, grafts, linearization of conjuncts, multidimensional trees
Towards an account of differential object marking in Romanian
Abstract: This paper proposes an analysis of Differential Object Marking in present-day Romanian along the lines of the DRT framework put forth by Kamp and Reyle (1993) and developed by Farkas and de Swart (2001), Farkas (2002), and Farkas and von Heusinger (2003). We provide an answer to the question as to what exactly (i.e. what semantic parameter) is responsible for Differential Object Marking in Romanian. A relevant answer seems to be the notion of “determined reference” which points to the stability of value given to a variable across verifying assignment functions – the narrower the allowed variation, the more stable the expression is. It seems, however, that other factors such as “animacy” or “the intention of the speaker” also need to be taken into account.
Keywords: differential object marking, determined reference, stability of reference, animacy
Revisiting the relationship between the properties of atelicity and partitivity
Abstract: The paper aims at revisiting the relationship between the properties of (a)telicity and partitivity in Romanian. It is a better motivated extension of Crăiniceanu (2009). As before, we distinguish between two possible partitive constructions which are distinct in point of their VP aspectuality: bare partitive constructions (which form atelic VPs) and full partitive constructions (which form telic VPs). Both partitive constructions involve two noun phrases out of which one is phonologically deleted, i.e. they involve a “silent noun phrase” (Sauerland and Yatsushiro 2004). Since bare partitives have no intrinsic existential force (Le Bruyn 2008), their upstairs quantifiers are also deleted and the VPs they form are atelic, i.e. their theme object is not atomic, but rather incrementally homogeneous (Landman and Rothstein 2010). In contrast, the quantifier determiners are preserved in the structure of full partitives as they are intonationally focussed. Full partitive VPs are “once-only verbs” (Le Bruyn 2008) and the focussed quantity serves as “measured” theme object, turning the whole VP into a telic one.
Keywords: telicity, atelicity, incremental homogeneity, measured theme objects, phonologically silent nouns
Aspectual classes in adult and child Romanian
Abstract: This paper classifies the predicates produced by young Romanian-speaking children function of lexical aspect, using the classical 4-partite Vendlerian classification of verb phrases into activities, accomplishments, achievements and states. Firstly, it discusses the tests proposed for English by Dowty (1979) in terms of their relevance for Romanian, and summarizes the useful criteria. Secondly, it provides examples of the four aspectual classes in child Romanian and investigates whether there are observable regularities in the distribution of tense morphology.
Keywords: lexical aspect, states, activities, accomplishments, achievements
The acquisition of variable phenomena: the case of past participle agreement in Québec French
Abstract: This paper investigates the use of past participle agreement by young preschool children and adults speaking Québec French. The results show that this type of optional agreement in the target grammar is a late acquisition, starting probably in school-aged children. The main features of the use of past participle agreement seem to be lexical and individual variation, overgeneralisation of the non-agreeing form, and use of agreement in incorrect constructions. Following a distinction between inconsistent and variable input, it is proposed that past participle agreement in Québec French is a type of inconsistent input and as such it is regularized by children as non-agreement. It is proposed that the underlying syntactic mechanism is inert, while the optionality comes from variation over the choice of different lexical forms as a function of their frequency in the input.
Keywords: object agreement, variation, object clitics
Andrei A. Avram
The pre-nasalized consonants of Kriyol
Abstract: The status of the pre-nasalized consonants of basilectal Kriyol (Guinea-Bissau Creole) is a matter of some dispute in the literature, between proponents of bisegmental analyses and of a monosegmental one. After first critically reviewing bisegmental analyses, this paper examines synchronic and diachronic data which support an interpretation of pre-nasalized consonants as single phonemes. This analysis is further supported by comparative evidence from other creoles, with various lexifiers (Portuguese, Spanish and English).
Keywords: Kriyol, syllabic nasals, pre-nasalized consonants, bisegmental, monosegmental