The Even Yearbook 13 (2018)

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

authors: den Dikken, Jánosy, Newson, Starčević Szigetvári
editors: Mark Newson & Péter Szigetvári (editorial note)


Marcel den Dikken
Infinitivus pro participio, active versus passive
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This paper studies the distribution of theinfinitivus-pro-participio (IPP) effect in both active and passive contexts, with reference to both Dutch (a language for which IPP is well-documented, though not as yet fully explained) and English (where IPP exists but is rarely addressed). The discussion elucidates the morphosyntax of the past participle, and bears on the “thematic affix” approach to passivisation, on the difference between “bare” and to-infinitives, and on the analysis of so-called infinitival passives.

keywords: IPP effect, passive, past participle, bare infinitive, to-infinitive, VP-fronting, ellipsis

Márton Jánosy
presume-tensing: An analogical account
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The vowel of word-initial unstressed syllables can be lax or tense in words like presume and December. The paper looks into the factors conditioning this variation, and proposes that analogical effects between words sharing a similar morphological element are responsible for the possibility of tensing (or lack thereof).

keywords: presume-tensing, unstressed vowels, variation, analogy

Mark Newson
Default Case
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The notion of default case has been around for a long time, but standard Case Theory gave it no room due to its clash with the Case Filter. With the demise of the Case Filter several attempts have been made to incorporate default case into the theory. Schütze (2001) has argued that default case emerges when a licensed DP is not assigned case and proposes a list of `default contexts' in which this would seem to happen. McFadden (2007) adopts Dependent Case Theory and argues that default case is unmarked. In the present paper, I agree with Schütze that default case arises when no case is assigned and with McFadden that accusative is unmarked in most English domains. However, I point out a problem facing both of these approaches: not every instance that they identify as default behaves in the same way. Specifically some `default contexts' are susceptible to nominative hypercorrection and others are not. I argue that those that are are real cases of default and those which are not are instances of unmarked case. Hence the two are separate, contra McFadden, and not all contexts that Schütze identifies involve the default. I propose an analysis based on Dependent Case Theory which identifies correctly the true default contexts and accounts for the others as the emergence of the unmarked accusative.

keywords: default case, Dependent Case Theory, hypercorrective nominative, case domain, unmarked case

Attila Starčević
The ‘gamma’ of Old English
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The data on Old English are well-known. As the chances of new manuscripts being discovered in the hope of further data extraction are almost non-existent, one must turn to analysing the old data with a new set of assumptions. One of these issues concerns the palatalization of *ɣ (gamma) in pre-historic Old English, a Germanic phoneme with several reflexes in Old English: ɡ, x, ɣ, j, dʒ, ddʒ. Historically, palatalization intersects and interacts with breaking and i-umlaut, which gives a convenient point of reference for any analysis.

The gamma is analysed here to have been a velar approximant in pre-Old English. The account of palatalization that follows cannot, under any account, claim to have the same scope of coverage, or account for every anomaly recorded in the last century. It relies on well-rehearsed data with a wish for reconsideration along a new set of assumptions. No new theoretical background is introduced either.

keywords: Old English, palatalization, gamma, velar voiced fricative, velar approximant, breaking, i-umlaut

Péter Szigetvári
Stressed schwa in English
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Descriptions of British English conventionally list seven short vowels, those of kit, dress, trap, strut, lot/cloth, foot, and letter/comma. In this paper I collect evidence for the claim that distinguishing strut and letter/comma is redundant and inconsistent: these two are one and the same vowel. Accordingly, the short vowel inventory of Current British English comprises only six short vowels.

keywords: vowel inventory, reduced/unstressed vowels, British English