The Even Yearbook 8 (2008)

ELTE SEAS Working Papers in Linguistics, ISSN 2061–490X

authors: Imrényi, Kántor, Marosán, Newson, Starcevic, Törkenczy, Werthmüller
editor: László Varga


András Imrényi
Quantifiers and qualifiers: a unified approach
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This paper argues that Hungarian quantifiers and 'qualifiers' (adverbs of manner) deserve a unified treatment, and presents a specific proposal as to how this could be achieved. The (until recently) standard QP/DistP account is criticized not least because it ignores significant parallels between the two groups. The new proposal is designed to account for the parallels even at the expense of questioning deep-rooted assumptions about syntax in general, and the Hungarian sentence in particular. More specifically, it is shown that i. the distribution of syntactic elements can be defined in purely relational terms, without any resort to the concept of phrase structure, ii. the fundamental syntactic properties of Hungarian quantifiers can be explained without any resort to a logical meta-language.

Keywords: Hungarian syntax, quantifiers, adverbs of manner, the relational definition of distribution

Gergely Kántor
On Hungarian relative operators
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The article attempts to provide a novel analysis of the A'-movement of Hungarian relative operators. The split CP hypothesis is adopted for Hungarian; that is, the left periphery of a clause is split into multiple functional phrases. New evidence based on quantifier scope relations clearly show that relative operators undergo obligatory overt movement to the specifier position of a lower functional phrase in the left periphery instead of optional topicalisation, as was argued before.

Keywords: generative syntax, Hungarian, relative clause, quantifier scope, relative operator movement

Lajos Marosán
Categorial ambiguity: alternative analyses
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This paper examines what coherent ways there are to account for the multiple syntactic occurrence of words such as 'this, yesterday' &c., and comment on the possible solutions.

Mark Newson
English modal auxiliaries
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In this paper I attempt an analysis of the English modal system within the framework of Alignment Syntax. In addition, I adopt Maunula's (2006) 'late lexical insertion' proposal, assuming a universal set of semantic features which are organised linearly into an expression by the alignment constraints and which are then subsequently realised by vocabulary items on a 'best fit' basis. The attraction of this approach can be seen in the basic problem of accounting for the modal system: no modal is associated with a single set of semantic features which determine its usage in all contexts. Very often we find overlapping distributions in the modal system, with two or more modals being used virtually synonymously in one context, but with completely different meanings in another context. The basic idea is that in most situations there is no modal vocabulary item which is specified for exactly the set of features to be realised and thus they compete against each other as the 'best realisation'. For some feature combinations, two vocabulary items will equally good realisations and for others, one will be better than the other. The analysis rests on two aspects. First there is an attempt to identify the features involved in modal meanings. Developing previous analyses of modality, I suggest a system of features divided along two main axes of modal type and degree. I argue for a three point division of modal type: epistemic, deontic and potential. and for four degrees, analysed into to binary features [±high] and [±lowered]. Having established the features of modality, I turn to the conditions of vocabulary insertion. This involves a prior linearization process, accounted for by alignment constraints, followed by the conditions which judge which vocabulary item to select for the realisation of the features. This is also carried out in an optimality fashion using ranked constraints governing which vocabulary item has the best matching set of features for those to be realised in the optimal expression. The relationship between modality and time reference is also explored, demonstrating that the system copes well with the way in which tense features may be realised on different elements under different circumstances.

Attila Starcevic
Old English stress — from constituency to dependency
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The issue of OE stress hinges crucially on the following assumptions: is it solely morphologically determined (as argued by Suphi 1985, 1988, Minkova & Stockwell 1994, etc.), or is it phonologically grounded (as claimed by e.g. Halle & Keyser 1971, Lass 1983, 1985, McCully & Hogg 1990, etc.), or is it a mixture of the two (e.g. Moon 1996, Bermúdez-Otero 1996, McCully 1999a, b)? Some accounts (e.g. Kim 2001) argue for quantity-insensitive primary stress and quality-sensitive secondary stress. The article looks at some of the problems posed by these analyses and proposes a new one couched in the framework of a radically simplified skeleton comprised of strictly alternating CV units (Lowenstamm 1996). It is suggested on the basis of process such as High-Vowel Deletion that Old English was dominated by a template the size of two CV units over which a number of phonological processes are played out, including the assignment of secondary stress. The attempt is to show that OE stress can also be captured in a framework that does away with (vertical) constituency and espouses lateral (horizontal) dependency between CV units.

Miklós Törkenczy
Level of generalisation: the role of contrast in an English phonotactic constraint
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This paper is a pessimistic footnote to the current debate over the relevance of contrastive vs. non-contrastive features in expressing phonological generalisations: there may be intuitively appealing generalisations (generally accepted as true in the literature) that cannot be uniformly expressed either in terms of contrastive features or in terms of non-contrastive ones.

Keywords: contrastive/redundant features, English phonotactics, ban on homorganicity in onsets

Gyöngyi Werthmüller
Middle English iambic metre — intrametrical and linguistic problems
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This article intends to gauge the 14th century poets Chaucer and Gower's metre against Halle & Keyser's (1966, 1971, 1972) metrical theory, and it means to refute a claim they make, which they derive from the metre, but which is not a metrical but a phonological assumption (concerning the suffix -inge). A crucial point of this analysis is the desire to part with the tradition that when not dealing with alliterative metre, ME metrists are usually concerned with pentameter lines (lines consisting of five feet), disregarding tetrameter lines (lines consisting of four feet). Halle & Keyser (1966, 1971, 1972) maintain that their theory does not only hold for pentametric lines, but can be extended to other iambic metres (of which in English the tetrameter is the most typical): nevertheless, they themselves fail to prove this, and they do not point out instances where the iambic pentameter may differ from other metres. In this paper, both §1 and §3 are concerned with this issue.

Cable (1998) notes the following: "Gower's meter, like Chaucer's, is affected by two features of late fourteenth century phonology: the optional sounding of final -e and the variable stress on a large part of the lexicon, especially those words of Romance origin" (1998: 39). After briefly revising Halle & Keyser's theory in §1 (which serves as a basis for §2), I shall attempt to analyse, at least partly, the interaction of these two problems, but — for the time being — mainly with regard to Germanic words; §3, however, provides a very short examination of Romance words. In §4, I shall reveal two features I consider characteristic of iambic tetrameter, which have not yet gained external support, but which, in turn, may serve as support for each other.

As Cable (1998) suggests, "Comments on Gower's prosody tend more toward the level of literary effect than the level of phonological and metrical analysis" (1998: 39). Though the present study can serve only as the beginning stage of a research, its aim is to change and remedy this situation to some extent.