The Even Yearbook 10 (2012)

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

authors: Bácskai-Atkári, Csontos, Horváth, Baloghné Nagy, Newson & Szécsényi
editor: László Varga (editorial note)


Júlia Bácskai-Atkári
Reducing Attributive Comparative Deletion
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The present paper focuses on the phenomenon of Attributive Comparative Deletion as attested in English and aims at providing an explanation for it by showing that it is not a special process in itself but rather a result of the interaction of more general rules. Hence the cross-linguistic differences with respect to Attributive Comparative Deletion can be derived from certain parametric differences. As will be shown, Attributive Comparative Deletion is in fact Comparative Deletion, which seems to be special only because VP-ellipsis also plays a role in the derivation of the final structure. This will cast light upon why English may exhibit Attributive Comparative Deletion, while Hungarian and German cannot: Hungarian lacks Comparative Deletion and German does not have VP-ellipsis in the way English has it.

Keywords: Comparative Deletion, Attributive Comparative Deletion, VP-ellipsis, attributive modification

Tamás Csontos
Nominal and pronominal arguments in German within the framework of Alignment Syntax
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The aim of the present study is to show that Alignment Syntax can offer a straightforward explanation for the positions and order of nominal and pronominal arguments in German. We begin with a discussion of the so-called verb-second and verb-last phenomena, which is necessary for the analysis of these arguments. Then the constraints that are responsible for the behaviour of the nominal and pronominal arguments will be introduced. Also various domains that have a crucial effect on the structure of German clauses will be defined.

Keywords: Alignment Syntax, German, nominal arguments, pronominal arguments, verb-second phenomenon, verb-last phenomenon

Katalin Horváth
The Split-DP in Hungarian
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The aim of the present essay is to investigate topic-focus relations inside the Hungarian possessive DP and the ways in which these affect the CP-level. A second goal is to shed new light on DP-internal wh-movement and possessor extraction. This is a large research area, so the paper focuses mainly on cases where the possessor constitutes the topic or the focus in the possessive DP, or where it is a wh-element.

Keywords: topic, focus, possessive DP, possessor extraction

Gizella Baloghné Nagy
Degrees of topicality on Alignment Syntax
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The aim of the paper is to provide a finer categorization of the syntactic notion ‘topic’, on the basis of pragmatic findings. It is shown that topics do not have an identical featural makeup cross-linguistically, and topics are distinguished according to their strength. Differences in the frequency and markedness of topicalisation are accounted for by the complexity of features responsible for topicality (e.g. aboutness, contrast). The analysis is carried out in the framework of Alignment Syntax as proposed by Newson (2008, 2010), in which the input is made up of feature bundles that are then manipulated by the syntactic component. Vocabulary insertion follows only after the ordering of features. This is done by alignment constraints of two types: precedence and adjacency requirements.

Keywords: syntax, Alignment Syntax, Optimality Theory, topicalisation, contrast

Mark Newson & Krisztina Szécsényi
Dummy auxiliaries and late vocabulary insertion
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Extending the analysis of Grimshaw (1997), according to which dummy do is merely the use of meaningful do with its semantic content ignored, in this paper we argue that, similarly to English do, non-main verb uses of be and have are also dummies. To account for the existence of different dummy forms we argue that not every aspect of a dummy’s content is ignored and it is on the basis of the remaining content that we can distinguish between them and their conditions of usage. All the three auxiliaries are shown to appear only when suffixes expressing tense and/or perfect cannot appear on their associated verbs. The differences in their content will ensure that they are the best dummies for the particular conditions of their insertion as determined by the different distributions of the event structure components of the constructions they appear in. These complex patterns of distribution can be captured with the help of a relatively small number of OT-type alignment constraints resulting in a uniform analysis of non-modal auxiliaries, and a more regular English verbal morphology.

Keywords: dummy auxiliaries, tense and aspect, event structure, lexicon, decomposition, OT, late vocabulary insertion, English, Hungarian