Rethinking the adjunct

  • The purpose of the present paper is twofold: first, to show that, when defining the adjunct, it is necessary to distinguish in a strict modular way between the syntactic level and the lexico-semantic level. Thus, the adjunct is a syntactic category on a par with the specifier and the complement, whereas the argument belongs to the same set as does (among others) the modifier. The consequence of this distinction is that there is no direct one-to-one opposition between adjuncts and arguments. Nor is there any direct one-to one relation between adjuncts and modifiers. The second and main purpose of the paper is to account for the well-known difference between the position of a specific set of modifiers (cause, time, place etc.) in, on the one hand, English and Swedish, on the other, German. In English and Swedish the default position of these modifiers is postverbal, whereas in German it is preverbal. Further, in English and Swedish, these modifiers occur in a mirror order compared with their German counterparts, an order which, from a semantic point of view, is not the expected one. I shall demonstrate that this difference is due to the different settings of the verbal head parameter, the former languages being VO-languages and the latter being OV -languages. I shall further argue that in English and Swedish these modifiers are base generated as adjuncts to an empty VP, which is a complement of the main verb of what I shall call the minimal VP (MVP), whereas in German they are adjuncts on top of the MVP. Finally, I shall argue that the postverbal modifiers move at the latest at LF to the top of the MVP, in order to take scope over it, the restriction being 'Shortest move'. The movement results in the correct scope order of the postverbal modifiers. The proposed structure also accounts for the binding data, in particular for the binding of a specific Swedish possessive anaphor 'sin'. This pronoun, which may occur within the MVP, must not occur within the postverbal modifiers in the empty VP. This supports the assumption that there is a strict borderline between the MVP and the assumed empty VP. The account is also in accordance with the focus data, the specific set of modifiers being potential focus exponents in a wide focus reading in English and Swedish, but not in German.

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Author:Inger Rosengren
Parent Title (English):Approaching the grammar of adjuncts : proceedings of the Oslo conference, September 22-25, 1999, Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung, Berlin, 1999; ZAS papers in linguistics Vol. 17
Publisher:Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung
Place of publication:Berlin
Document Type:Part of a Book
Date of Publication (online):2013/11/14
Year of first Publication:2000
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2013/11/14
GND Keyword:Syntax; Semantik; Adverb; Adjunkt <Linguistik>; Verbalphrase; Englisch; Deutsch; Schwedisch
Page Number:20
First Page:217
Last Page:240
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 41 Linguistik / 410 Linguistik
Linguistik-Klassifikation:Linguistik-Klassifikation: Syntax
Linguistik-Klassifikation: Sprachtypologie / Language typology
Linguistik-Klassifikation: Semantik / Semantics
Linguistik-Klassifikation: Kontrastive Linguistik / Contrastive linguistics
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:ZAS papers in linguistics : ZASPiL / ZASPiL 17 = Approaching the grammar of adjuncts : Proceedings of the Oslo Conference
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht