On variation in the positioning of the progressive marker am in non-standard German: Kölsch (Colognese) and Pennsylvania Dutch
Abstract: Progressive constructions involving the progressive marker am are considered to be highly colloquial in standard German but are standard in regional varieties of German such as Kölsch (Colognese) and Pennsylvania Dutch. It was argued in Bhatt and Schmidt (1993) that in Kölsch the progressive particle am is the head of a head-final Aspect Phrase. The progressive particle in Pennsylvania Dutch has not been discussed in generative literature. Based on Bhatt and Schmidt’s arguments, it will be argued here that in Pennsylvania Dutch the progressive marker am is the head of a head-initial Aspect Phrase, despite a possible conflict with the Final-Over-Final Constraint (FOFC) proposed in Biberauer et al. (2007, 2010).
Keywords: progressive, German, Pennsylvania Dutch, Kölsch
Aspectual mismatches in the interpretation of idioms: the view from AspP
Abstract: The present paper is an attempt to uncover some of the (syntactic) properties of idioms that present aspectual mismatches between their literal and idiomatic interpretation. The novelty value of the proposal lies in its syntactic rather than semantic or cognitive approach: whereas most accounts in the literature deal with this conundrum from a semantic and cognitive point of view, the present analysis provides a syntactic aspectual account by relying on AspP.
Keywords: idiom, telic, atelic, aspectual mismatch, aspect phrase (AspP)
On the interpretation of focus fronting in Romanian
Abstract: I discuss the semantics of a sub-type of focus fronting in Romanian, which is neither associated to focal particles nor mirative or exclamative. I show that this type is not “contrastive” in the sense of involving a closed set of contextually identifiable alternatives, as has been claimed in previous studies, and does not necessarily have a corrective import. The conditions this type is subject to are: (i) the fronted constituent is a true focus (in the sense of an element introducing alternatives in the interpretation, see Rooth 1992, Krifka 2008) and not just new information; (ii) an exhaustivity presupposition or implicature (described as rejection of all other alternatives) and an existential presupposition (one alternative is true) are introduced, in a way similar to English it-clefts, as discussed by Büring and Križ (2013). I further present some differences with respect to English clefts. Finally, I discuss the status of the negation that precedes a fronted focus, arguing for a sentential negation analysis.
Keywords: focus, fronting, exhaustivity, Romanian, negation
The case of unaccusative mismatch in English
Abstract: The paper examines the unaccusative-unergative dichotomy of predicates, with a special focus laid on the class status of the verb TO DIE in English. The paper begins with a view of unaccusativity in the light of the Lexicon-Syntax Interface. Further, the verb TO DIE is tested against the six syntactic unaccusativity diagnostics valid for English. In consequence, the first three diagnostics (auxiliary selection, causative alternation and resultative constructions) do not work for the verb TO DIE, while the last three diagnostics (adjectival participle, there-insertion, locative inversion) appear to have been satisfied. This would lead us to the conclusion that the verb TO DIE should be regarded as a real example of an Unaccusative Mismatch (Levin 1986).
Keywords: intransitive predicates, unaccusativity diagnostics, reflexive constructions, adjectival principles, there-insertion and locative inversion.
Giuliana Giusti and Rossella Iovino
A protocol for psych verbs
Abstract: So-called psychological verbs such as Italian temere ‘fear’, preoccupare ‘worry’, and piacere ‘like’ present an extremely varied argument structure across languages, that arranges these two roles in apparently opposite hierarchies and assigns them different grammatical functions (subject, direct, indirect and prepositional objects). This paper wants to provide a descriptively adequate classification of such verbs in Latin and Italian to serve future analyses irrespective of their theoretical persuasion. We individuate six classes in Italian and seven classes in Latin, which comply with Belletti and Rizzi’s (1988) original analysis of psych verbs and focus on the three less studied classes, namely unaccusatives, unergatives and impersonals. We show that diachronic variation and apparent intra-language idiosyncrasies are due to the fact that these classes are universally available to all psych roots. The presentation is set in a protocol fashion in the sense of Giusti and Zegrean (2015) and Di Caro and Giusti (2015).
Keywords: Latin, psych verbs, experiencer role, argument structure alternation
Syntactic complexity and inflections in the written production of L1 and L2 French
Abstract: Very little is known about the effect of syntactic complexity on written language production. This study investigated the effect of syntactic complexity on the accuracy of gender marking in written L1 and L2 French. We conducted two experiments in which L1 learners (n = 28) and L2 learners (n = 26) of French were asked to complete a fill-in-the-gap task. The test items were controlled for three types of gender agreement configurations with different syntactic complexity. The results show that the syntactic complexity of the agreement configuration has an effect on the accuracy of both L1 and L2 written gender marking. We conclude that, similarly to spoken L1 production, the accuracy of gender marking is influenced by syntactic complexity. Furthermore, we conclude that the observed effect of syntactic complexity does not only hold for L2 learners at the beginners level, but is still present in advanced L2 learners of French.
Keywords: inflections, L1 acquisition, L2 acquisition, French, syntactic complexity
Sali A. Tagliamonte. Teen Talk. The Language of Adolescents. (Reviewed by Costin-Valentin Oancea)