The Even Yearbook 9 (2010)

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

authors: Bácskai-Atkári, Horváth, Newson, Varga, Werthmüller
editor: László Varga (editorial note)


Júlia Bácskai-Atkári
Parametric variation and Comparative Deletion
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In this paper I attempt to refute the assumptions prevalent in the literature on Comparative Deletion (CD) in comparatives and to provide an alternative solution placing CD into a radically new perspective, within the framework of Principles and Parameters Theory. Traditional analyses consider CD to be universally principled, separating it from other deletion phenomena, and defining it on the basis of its being obligatory. However, cross-linguistic data show that CD is subject to parametric variation and instead of describing it by virtue of its obligatoriness, I propose a functional definition based on the target site of CD, which may be better applied when accounting for the parametric variation in the subclause. Moreover, I will also prove that there are deletion processes other than CD that are specifically related to the structure of comparatives that cannot be viewed as ordinary ellipsis.

Keywords: generative syntax, comparative subclauses, operator movement, Comparative Deletion, copy theory of movement

Katalin Horváth
Possessive interpretations
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Possessors, being argument DPs in the possessive DP (in the DP hosting the possessor and the possessed) need a thematic-role so that the exact relationship between them and the possessed can be determined. There are several approaches to the process of nominal theta-marking in the literature on possession. The present paper addresses the problem of theta-role assignment within the possessive DP and aims at arguing against the assumptions according to which the possessive interpretation originates in the semantics of the possessed noun alone. This essay intends to present an alternative approach to this problem by claiming that the possessor receives its theta-role from a theta-role assigning unit consisting of the possessed and the possessive morpheme.

Keywords: possessive interpretation, theta-role assignment in the nominal domain, CP-DP Parallelism, UTAH, possessive morpheme, light noun, nP-shell, argument structure of (the possessed) N, derived and non-derived nouns

Mark Newson
Syntax first, words after: A possible consequence of doing Alignment Syntax without a lexicon
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In this paper I explore the possibility of doing away with the traditional lexicon within the Alignment Syntax system and follow up on some of the consequences of doing so. Following similar attempts at lexical reduction, such as in Distributed Morphology, I note that one immediate consequence is that the grammatical system does not operate with a notion of syntactic category, but instead input elements, i.e. abstract elements of conception, come in two basic types: roots and functional conceptual units. Unlike Distributed Morphology, however, Alignment Syntax, operating without recourse to constituent structure, is able to go further and operate without the notion of ‘word’. The syntactic system simply orders the input conceptual units and it is only during the process of vocabulary item insertion that any notion of word arises. What this enables is an account of inter- and intra-linguistic differences in terms of which vocabulary items realise which conceptual notions. This feature is explored with an analysis of certain aspects of the realisation of verb related meanings, such as argument/event structure and tense and aspect.

Keywords: Syntax, Alignment Syntax, Optimality Theory, Lexicon, Word Categories, Argument/Event Structure, Tense and Aspect, Causative Construction, Light Verbs, Auxiliary Verbs.

László Varga
Boundary tones and the lack of intermediate phrase in Hungarian (Revisiting the Hungarian Calling Contour)
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In his analysis of the Hungarian CC, Varga (2008) comes to the conclusion that the representation of this contour is H*!H-0% when it stands at the end of an utterance, and H*!H- when it is inside an utterance. In these representations the H* is a monotonal pitch accent, the !H- is a downstepped phrase tone, and the 0% is a zero boundary tone. A phrase tone marks the end of an intermediate phrase, whereas a (final) boundary tone marks the end of an intonational phrase. On this view, an utterance carrying more than one CC corresponds to a single intonational phrase, which is cut into as many intermediate phrases as the number of CCs in it. The present paper wishes to revise this assumption and to prove that the Hungarian CC always forms an intonational phrase, i.e. not only at the end of an uttarance but also inside the utterance. According to this new proposal the representation of the Hungarian CC is always H*!H-0%, and positing intermediate phrases in Hungarian is no longer necessary.

Keywords: boundary tone, phrase tone, intonational phrase, intermediate phrase, calling contour

Gyöngyi Werthmüller
An analysis of word-final -e in Middle English verse, in Gower and Chaucer
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This paper intends to provide further contribution to the examination of Middle English word-final -e. It claims that , virtually, apocope does not exist in Gower's verse, and that the word maner(e) was probably the first one to go through restructuring in his poetic language. It also argues for the point that the role of -en (whose grammatical function is often the same as that of -e) is not that of a hiatus-filler. Finally, it suggests that in Gower's verse, there were two forms of the article the — one with schwa, and one with a full vowel —: and that the latter occurred most often in his more formal, more elevated poetry.

Keywords: Middle English, word-final -e, schwa, elision, apocope, hiatus, metre, Gower, Chaucer