Vol. XXII Nr. 2

DOI: 10.31178/BWPL.22.2

Special issue: The Syntax and Semantics of Internal Arguments
Editor: Alina Tigău

Brian Gravely
DOM and non-canonical word-order in Romance: The case of Galician

Abstract: In this article, I investigate the link between VSO-VOS orders and differential object marking (dom) via novel data from Galician. I present an analysis that sheds light on what may be required for a language to license dom via movement, a requirement once thought necessary for licensing dom that has recently been discredited on the basis of an overwhelming amount of cross-linguistic data (Kalin 2018). I also show evidence for the variation regarding featural specification of DPs that must be differentially marked, adding to the highly variable factors that attribute to the appearance of dom on nominal objects in natural language. Focusing on full DP objects, I conclude that licensing dom in Galician is predicated on both the level of animacy of postverbal nominals and object shift in VOS configurations.

Keywords: differential object marking, word order, Romance, Galician, Agree, case assignment

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Daria Seres
Generic bare plurals in Russian and beyond 

Abstract: This paper focuses on indirect reference to kinds achieved by means of bare plural nominal expressions in Russian, which is a language without articles. These NPs refer to sums of individuals, whose denotation is built on Number. Their default interpretation is indefinite, while generic and definite readings are a result of a pragmatic strengthening, i.e. these readings appear only in certain environments (argument position of k-level predicates, subject position of characterising statements) and depend on the world knowledge of interlocutors. Generically and definitely interpreted expressions are similar to each other, being characterised by maximality, identifiability and presupposition of existence. However, the former ones cannot be spatiotemporally localised or anaphorically anchored. Going beyond Russian, it is suggested that in some languages genericity (along with definiteness) may be encoded semantically by means of a definite article, while in others it is pragmatically inferred on bare NPs; this difference can account for the inter- and intra-linguistic variation in the expression of genericity.

Keywords: genericity, articleless languages, bare plurals, Russian

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Marta Donazzan, Clémentine Raffy & Klaus von Heusinger
Causation and dispositions: Towards a semantic characterization of the French causative verb laisser

Abstract: The French causative verb laisser can enter two different constructions: a monoclausal one resembling the faire-infinitive construction (Kayne 1975, Alsina 1992, Guasti 1996, Folli & Harley 2007) and a biclausal one. While differences in interpretation between these two constructions have been pointed out (Kayne 1975, Enghels & Roegiest 2012), the link between structure and conceptual representation has not been clearly defined yet. In this paper, we tackle the syntax and semantics of causative laisser adopting as a background Talmy’s (1988) force dynamics model of causation. We further show that the link to the selectional restrictions of the causative verb can be made by considering forces as dispositional causal properties (Fara 2001), that is, properties that become relevant with respect to the role of an entity in a causal chain.

Keywords: causation, syntactic causatives, force dynamics, dispositions

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Peđa Kovačević
Not all object experiencers are the same: The role of se and the argument structure of Serbian psych verbs anticausatives

Abstract: The goal of this paper is to account for the observation that some Serbian object experiencer anticausatives take instrumental NPs as expressions of the causer participant whereas others take od(‘from’)-PPs. Following a number of authors (Alexiadou et al. 2013, Doron 2014, Anagnostopoulou & Samioti 2014, a. o.), I assume that differences in the licensing of expressions introducing event participants point in the direction of structural differences in terms of presence/absence of certain layers of verbal structure. The observed difference is accounted for by assuming that instrumental NPs are syntactically licensed by VoiceP while od(‘from’)-PPs are rejected by VoiceP owing to a semantic clash. Consequently, full VoiceP structure is present with psych verb anticausatives that license instrumental NPs and absent with psych verb anticauatives that license od(‘from’)-PPs. The analysis presented in the paper has implications for the syntactic and semantic status of se as well. It is suggested that Chierchia’s (2004) reflexive approach to anticausatives can be extended to psych verb anticausatives which license instrumental NPs whereas the standard approach (Schäfer & Vivanco 2016) should be retained for typical anticausatives with inanimate internal arguments and object experiencers that license od(‘from’)-PPs. Such a ‘middle-ground’ solution follows from the syntactic structures I propose for these two different sets of psych verb anticausatives.

Keywords: anticausatives, psych verbs, experiencers, argument structure, Serbian

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Valeria Generalova
Towards and RRG analysis of constructions with a morphological causative in some Altaic languages

Abstract: The present paper examines Bashkir and Kalmyk constructions formed from transitive verbs by means of causative suffixes. We refer to these constructions as “constructions with a morphological causative”. The paper also references other Altaic languages (Mishar Tatar, Nanai, Tuvinian, Khakas). The main focus of the paper is the valence-increasing behavior of causatives. Primary attention is drawn to the case marking of the Causee since Altaic languages allow several options for that. The paper describes in detail the existing alter-nation and reviews prior explanations of this phenomenon. It then couches the explanation for the alternation within the framework of Role and Reference Grammar (RRG). The analysis identifies that the Altaic constructions in question are somehow peculiar compared to general trends. After discussing the advantages and drawbacks of various theoretical interpretations of this peculiarity, we conclude that it is best to link two different causative constructions to two different logical structures. We also suggest constructional schemata for Kalmyk and Bashkir to include in the Linking Algorithm.

Keywords: causative, RRG, case assignment, frame semantics

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Alina Tigău. 2020. Experimental Insights into the Syntax of Romanian Ditransitives. (Reviewed by Adina Bleotu)

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