- Intervention effects in questions (2008)
- This dissertation is concerned with the phenomenon of intervention effects, observed in three different domains: wh-questions, alternative questions (AltQ) and Negative Polarity Item (NPI) licensing. I propose that these three domains share some common properties, namely, they all involve focus-sensitive licensing, and are thus sensitive to an intervening focus phrase. The overview of the dissertation is as follows. In chapter 2, I discuss the phenomenon of intervention effects in wh-questions, brought to light in the discussion of German in Beck (1996), and Korean in Beck and Kim (1997). The basic idea of their analysis is that quantifiers block LF wh-movement. I show that intervention effects are observed in many other languages, too, suggesting that the intervention effect has a universal character. I then point out some problems with the analysis proposed by Beck (1996) and Beck and Kim (1997). In chapter 3, I propose a new generalization of the wh-intervention effects, namely that the core set of interveners, which is crosslinguistically stable, consists of focus phrases (and not quantifiers in general). Furthermore, I argue that the wh-intervention effect is actually an instance of the more general intervention effect, the "Focus Intervention Effect", which says that in a focus-sensitive licensing construction, no independent focus phrase may intervene between the licensor Op and the licensee XP. The underlying idea is that the Q operator is a focus-sensitive operator and that wh-phrases in-situ are dependent (i.e., semantically deficient) focus elements, which must be associated with the Q operator in order to be interpreted. An intervening independent focus operator precisely blocks that association. I further propose that the domain of focus-sensitive licensing includes not only wh-licensing, but also AltQ-licensing and NPI-licensing. In chapter 4, I show that alternative questions are also subject to the focus intervention effect, just like wh-questions. I provide evidence that the intervention effect in wh-questions and in alternative questions should receive a parallel analysis, in terms of focus-sensitivity. In chapter 5, I discuss a third construction which is sensitive to the focus intervention effect: the licensing of Negative Polarity Items (NPIs). I show that focus consistently blocks NPI licensing, with data from German and Korean. I propose that NPIs are also semantically deficient focus elements, which need to be associated with a NEG operator. Finally, chapter 6 summarizes the intervention effects and suggests some topics for future research into the precise nature of the intervention effect.
- The diachronic development of complementisers in the Germanic languages (2011)
- This dissertation investigated the development of the complementiser that from the demonstrative pronoun in the Germanic languages; each chapter dealt with a different aspect. In the introduction, the terms ‘reanalysis’ and ‘analogy’ and their relevance for grammaticalisation were explained, and the issues of the chapters were presented. The second chapter introduced some information about the Germanic language family and the languages which were relevant for this investigation, namely Gothic, Old English, Old Icelandic, Old Saxon and Old High German. Previous assumptions about the diachrony of that were presented and discussed. One of these proposals which mainly draws on evidence from West Germanic involves the idea that the source construction contained two independent main clauses with a demonstrative pronoun (that) at the end of the first clause (cf. e.g. Paul 1962, § 248). In contrast to this, the Gothic evidence showed that the source construction of the reanalysis of ϸatei was not a proper paratactic construction (at least in Gothic) but already a complex construction which contained a complementiser (ei) in the appositional subordinate clause (cf. also e.g. Longobardi 1994 for the diachrony of ϸatei). This contradiction raised the question whether the analysis of the Gothic that-complementiser also applies to the diachrony of that in West Germanic. This issue was taken up in the third chapter which presented an overview of subordination and complementisers in Northwest Germanic. The aim was to show that the Northwest Germanic languages also show a subordinating particle, which functions like the Gothic ei, namely ϸe (OE), er/es (OI), the (OHG, OS). As a result, the subordinating particle could be observed in relative and adverbial clauses in all Northwest Germanic languages. In complement clauses, which are most crucial for the argumentation, the subordinating particle is found in Old English and Old Icelandic but not in Old Saxon. In Old High German, there are only combinations of the with a following pronoun, theih and theiz, in ‘Otfrids Evangelienbuch’ (see Wunder 1965). Consequently, the presence of a subordinating particle is confirmed in North and West Germanic. The fact that the patterns of subordination are quite similar in all Germanic languages suggested a unitary analysis of the development of that in Germanic was appropriate. In chapter four, the similarities and differences between the Germanic languages with respect to the development of that were explained. It was argued that the preconditions of the reanalysis were the same, whereas the consequences of the reanalysis are realised differently in each language. The most important precondition was that the appositional source construction (explained in more detail below) was generally available in Germanic. Since the demonstrative pronoun at the end of the matrix clause and the subordinating particle of the subordinate clause were adjacent, phonological combination might have been crucial for the subsequent reanalysis to take place. After reanalysis, however, different changes can be observed in the different languages. For instance, it appears that during the Old English period the final syllable of the form ϸætte was deleted (see chapter 4 for references), whereas the final –ei is still present in the Gothic ϸatei, and completely absent in Old High German and Old Saxon. The source structure of the reanalysis was discussed in detail in a separate subsection. The appositional source construction, which was already assumed for the reanalysis of Gothic ϸatei, was compared with analyses of clitic left dislocation which propose that two constituents with the same theta-role derive from a Big DP (see e.g. Grewendorf 2009, Belletti 2005). Based on the Big DP analysis of Grewendorf (2009), it was claimed that the appositional clause, introduced by the subordinating particle, is generated in the Spec of a DP, and adjoined to this DP on the surface. It was argued that this whole complement DP-node occurred in an extraposed position in OV-languages so that the verb, when it stays in-situ, does not appear between the demonstrative pronoun and the subordinating particle. The structure in (1) illustrates the syntactic source structure which is assumed to apply to the development of the complementiser that in Germanic. ...