Free not-so-free adjectival order in Latin
Abstract: Latin is known to have free Modifier > N / N > Modifier orders, with different frequencies according to the nature of the Modifier, which can be a determiner, a quantifier or an adjective. This variation raises a number of questions on the source of optionality, in both configurational and non-configurational approaches. In this paper, I take the configurational stance as the more restrictive and therefore the first to pursue. I evaluate two recent competing hypotheses: Cinque’s (1994, 2005, 2010) cartographic anti-symmetric hypothesis, according to which adjectives only occur as left-branching specifiers, and Abels and Neeleman’s (2010) minimalist counterproposal, according to which adjectives are adjoined to NP and stacked leftwards or rightwards. I propose a reconciliation of these two generative approaches along the lines of Giusti (2015), who distinguishes three types of feature sharing: Agreement, Concord, and Projection. The optionality of order is derived through (i) optional realization of N in the functional spine, (ii) optional realization of possessives in first-merge or remerge position, (iii) optional left/right adjunction of reduced relative clauses (or alternatively optional partial movement across a left-branching indirect modification); (iv) possible displacements of a single AP to the Left Periphery of the nominal expression. These four options interact with discourse but are constrained by the configurational right-branching structure generated by the syntactic component.
Keywords:Latin, syntax, noun phrase, adjective, demonstrative, optionality, configurationality
Specificity, definiteness, and modification
Abstract: This paper focuses on complex DPs which contain a PP modifier. The matrix D shows agreement with the embedded D with respect to specificity in such DPs. However, this happens only in some instances but not always. The paper proposes that not all nominals encode specificity in the grammar and that the instances in which agreement obtains are those in which both the matrix and the embedded D encode specificity as a morpho-syntactic feature. The agreement relation within modified DPs in such cases is thus a consequence of syntactic Agree. With all the other instances the specificity of the DP is decided at a semantic/pragmatic level, and depends on contextual factors, as well as on the epistemic state of the speaker. The two DPs are independent from each other with respect to how their specificity is computed and no agreement relation is expected to hold between the two.
Keywords: specificity, definiteness, modification, prepositions, Agree
The root derivation of psych nominals: Implications for competing overt and zero nominalizers
Abstract: This paper is concerned with nominalizations derived from psychological verbs in English. Based on particular properties in their realization of argument structure, which have long been noticed in the literature, I will argue that in a syntax-based approach to word formation such as Distributed Morphology these nominals must be derived from the psychological root alone and cannot include any event structure. This contrasts with non-psych nominals, which more readily include verb event structure. I will show that this difference lies in the different ontological status of the two kinds of roots. Furthermore, psychological verbs and their special roots allow us to conclude that there is no structural difference between derived nominals (based on Latinate suffixes such as -al, -ance, -ation, -ion, and -ment) and zero-derived nominals, whose suffix is covert. A clear difference, however, is posited between these nominals and those based on -ing.
Keywords: psych nominals, external arguments, zero-derived nominals, English, Distributed Morphology
Ellipsis and information structure: Evidence from Romanian gapping
Abstract: The main goal of this paper is to investigate the information structure of gapping, a linguistic level which has been much less studied than syntax or semantics. Romanian is a good test case for such a study, since it displays a specific contrastive conjunction iar, which occurs frequently with gapping and which severely restricts the information structure ordering. We explain its high frequency with ellipsis by the fact that it shares several crucial constraints with gapping. Our data show that the contrastive pairs with iar do not have the same contribution: one pair contains contrastive topics, and the other foci. However, the order of the correlates in the source clause does not necessarily match the order of the remnants in the gapped clause. We use a QUD model, based on question-answer congruence, which is very useful for a careful investigation of the discourse and information structure of ellipsis.
Keywords: gapping, discourse, contrast, focus, contrastive topic
Martine Coene, Yves D’hulst, Liliane Tasmowski
“Allez, (mon) chou, on y va!”. Twenty years later: Revisiting the puzzle of French vocatives
Abstract: The main assumption put forward in this paper is that that vocative phrases are not substantially different from noun phrases in argument positions when it comes to their internal make-up and the rules underlying their syntactic derivation. Building on evidence coming from different stages and registers of French, two distinct strategies are distinguished that produce determinerless or bare vocatives: the construct state strategy in the case of singular vocatives, and a pronominal complementation strategy in the case of plural vocatives. Although both strategies are different and independent, they share two crucial properties: they both rely on movement to the highest functional projection of the nominal phrase connecting all heads between Voc0 and N0, and they both attribute a special role to the Possessor argument. Against this renewed theoretical background some peculiarities of French vocative constructions are revisited. It is argued that contrary to Old French, in Modern French full N-to-D movement has become obsolete with ordinary common nouns. As in most modern Romance languages, only proper nouns, some diminutives or terms of endearment as well as a handful of kinship terms may still be found in the highest functional layers of the noun phrase. This option is restricted to singular nouns only and heavily relies on the presence of an overt or implicit possessor. Plural bare vocatives are outdated as well, albeit for different reasons. They are analyzed as instances of pronominal complementation. As complemented pronouns are strongly in decline in Modern French, plural bare vocatives follow this downtrend. Modern French offers for both plural bare vocatives and complemented overt pronouns the same alternative strategy: overt realization of the determiner. In the case of vocatives, this alternative is not semantically equivalent, since it does not obligatorily entails a speaker-oriented interpretation of the possessive, when PossP is present.
Keywords: vocative phrase, construct state, pronominal complementation, movement, Possessor
Veronica Tomescu. 2017. Acquisition in a Romanian-Hungarian Bilingual Setting. A Case Study. (Reviewed by Anca Sevcenco)