Year of publication
- Adjectival modification and multiple determiners (1998)
- The present paper deals with the distribution of the definite determiner and certain related aspects of adjectival modification in Greek DPs. As (1) shows, determiners in Greek DPs precede adjectives and adjectives precede nouns. All three categories overtly agree in gender, number and case.
- A note on non-canonical passives : the case of the get-passive (2005)
- In many languages, a passive-like meaning may be obtained through a noncanonical passive construction. The get passive (1b) in English, the se faire passive (2b) in French and the kriegen passive (3b) in German represent typical manifestations. This squib focuses on the behavior of the get-passive in English and discusses a number of restrictions associated with it as well as the status of get.
- Verbs, nouns and affixation (2008)
- What explains the rich patterns of deverbal nominalization? Why do some nouns have argument structure, while others do not? We seek a solution in which properties of deverbal nouns are composed from properties of verbs, properties of nouns, and properties of the morphemes that relate them. The theory of each plus the theory of howthey combine, should give the explanation. In exploring this, we investigate properties of two theories of nominalization. In one, the verb-like properties of deverbal nouns result from verbal syntactic structure (a “structural model”). See, for example, van Hout & Roeper 1998, Fu, Roeper and Borer 1993, 2001, to appear, Alexiadou 2001, to appear). According to the structural hypothesis, some nouns contain VPs and/or verbal functional layers. In the other theory, the verbal properties of deverbal nouns result from the event structure and argument structure of the DPs that they head. By “event structure” we mean a representation of the elements and structure of a linguistic event, not a representation of the world. We refer to this view as the “event model”. According to the event model hypothesis, all derived nouns are represented with the same syntactic structure, the difference lying in argument structure – which in turn is critically related to event structure, in the way sketched in Grimshaw (1990), Siloni (1997) among others. In pursuing these lines of analysis, and at least to some extent disentangling their properties, we reach the conclusion that, with respect to a core set of phenomena, the two theories are remarkably similar – specifically, they achieve success with the same problems, and must resort to the same stipulations to address the remaining issues that we discuss (although the stipulations are couched in different forms).
- Instrument subjects are agents or causers (2006)
- It has often been noticed that one syntactic argument position can be realized by elements which seem to realize different thematic roles. This is notably the case with the external argument position of verbs of change of state which licenses volitional agents, instruments or natural forces/causers, showing the generality and abstractness of the external argument relation. (1) a. John broke the window (Agent) b. The hammer broke the window (Instrument) c. The storm broke the window (Causer) In order to capture this generality, Van Valin & Wilkins (1996) and Ramchand (2003) among others have proposed that the thematic role of the external argument position is in fact underspecified. The relevant notion is that of an effector (in Van Valin & Wilkins) or of an abstract causer/initiator (in Ramchand). In this paper we argue against a total underspecification of the external argument relation. While we agree that (1b) does not instantiate an instrument theta role in subject position, we argue that a complete underspecification of the external theta-position is not feasible, but that two types of external theta roles have to be distinguished, Agents and Causers. Our arguments are based on languages where Agents and Causers show morpho-syntactic independence (section 2.1) and the behavior of instrument subjects in English, Dutch, German and Greek (section 2.2 and 3). We show that instrument subjects are either Agent or Causer like. In section (4) we give an analysis how arguments realizing these thematic notions are introduced into syntax.
- Perfects, resultatives and auxiliaries in early English (2007)
- In this paper, we will argue for a novel analysis of the auxiliary alternation in Early English, its development and subsequent loss which has broader consequences for the way that auxiliary selection is looked at cross-linguistically. We will present evidence that the choice of auxiliaries accompanying past participles in Early English differed in several significant respects from that in the familiar modern European languages. Specifically, while the construction with have became a full-fledged perfect by some time in the ME period, that with be was actually a stative resultative, which it remained until it was lost. We will show that this accounts for some otherwise surprising restrictions on the distribution of BE in Early English and allows a better understanding of the spread of HAVE through late ME and EModE. Perhaps more importantly, the Early English facts also provide insight into the genesis of the kind of auxiliary selection found in German, Dutch and Italian. Our analysis of them furthermore suggests a promising strategy for explaining cross-linguistic variation in auxiliary selection in terms of variation in the syntactico-semantic structure of the perfect. In this introductory section, we will first provide some background on the historical situation we will be discussing, then we will lay out the main claims for which we will be arguing in the paper.
- Pieces of the be perfect in German and older English (2006)
- This paper examines the development of periphrastic constructions involving auxiliary "have" and "be" with a past participle in the history of English, on the basis of parsed electronic corpora. It is argued that the two constructions represented distinct syntactic and semantic structures: while the one with have developed into a true perfect in the course of Middle English, the one with be remained a stative resultative throughout its history. In this way, it is explained why the be construction was rarely or never used in a number of contexts, including past counterfactuals, iteratives, duratives, certain kinds of infinitives and various other utterance types that cannot be characterized as perfects of result. When the construction with have became a true perfect, it was used in such contexts, regardless of the identity of the main verb, leading to the appearance of have with verbs like come which had previously only taken be. Crucially, however, have was not spreading at the expense of be, as the be perfect had never been used in such contexts, but rather at the expense of the old simple past. At least until the end of the Early Modern English period, the shift in the relative frequency of have and be perfects is to be explained in terms of the expansion of the former into new contexts, while the latter remained stable. A formal analysis is proposed, taking as its starting point a comparison with German which shows that the older English be perfect indeed behaves more like the German stative passive than its haben and sein perfects.
- No objections to backward control? (2009)
- The aim of this paper is to address two main counterarguments raised in Landau (2007) against the movement analysis of Control, and especially against the phenomenon of Backward Control. The paper shows that unlike the situation described in Tsez (Polinsky & Potsdam 2002), Landau's objections do not hold for Greek and Romanian, where all obligatory control verbs exhibit Backward Control. Our results thus provide stronger empirical support for a theoretical approach to Control in terms of Movement, as defended in Hornstein (1999 and subsequent work).
- In support of long distance agree (2009)
- In the recent literature the phenomenon of long distance agreement has become the focus of several studies as it seems to violate certain locality conditions which require that agreeing elements in general stand in clause-mate relationships. In particular, it involves a verb agreeing with a constituent which is located in the verb's clausal complement and hence poses a challenge for theories that assume a strictly local relationship for agreement. In this paper we present empirical evidence from Greek and Romanian for the reality of long distance agreement. Specifically, we focus on raising constructions in these two languages and we show that they do not involve movement but rather instantiate long distance agreement. We further argue that subjunctives allowing long distance agreement lack both a CP layer and semantic Tense. However, since the embedded verb also bears phi-features, these constructions pose a further problem for assumptions that view the presence of phi-features as evidence for the presence of a C layer. Finally, we raise the question of the common properties that these languages have that lead to the presence of long distance agreement.