Prepositions and Case Theory

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Transcript of Prepositions and Case Theory

An Introduction to Radical Minimalism

Prepositions and Case TheoryDiego Gabriel Krivochen (UNLP, Universitt Potsdam)

Previous approachesPesetsky & Torrego (2001, 2004, 2007)

Vehicle Requirement on Merge (2007: 1):If and merge, some feature F of must probe F on .

Conditions for Probing:C-commandFeature identity


A model of AgreeAgree (Feature sharing version)An unvalued feature F (a probe) on a head H at syntactic location (F) scans its c-command domain for another instance of F (a goal) at location (F) with which to agree.

Replace F with F, so that the same feature is present in both locations.

ProblemsC-command is stipulatively defined upon 2-D tree-like representations.Restrictions on Merge: the operation does not follow from conceptual necessity but from intra-theoretical needs.Substantive complications: features, values, operations (Agree = Search + Copy Value)

Case in P&Ts modelRelation between Case in NPs and T finiteness (P&T, 2000: 5):

The nature of nominative caseNominative case is uT on D.

uT on D is valued by non-defective T

The concept is extended to ACC case, depending on the T node that values the uninterpretable feature on D.

Case as a subtype of Agree

NOM = [TS [u-]DP[u-T]]

ACC = [TO [u-] DP [u-T]]

Case in Radical MinimalismCase is a configurational relation, not a substantive element (Cf. P&T, Chomsky)

Relation between Theta-Theory and Case Theory:

The optimal scenario would be that in which there is a univoque relation between theta positions and theta roles, and a Case interpretation for each theta-position.

DeLancey (2001)() suppose we could demonstrate that there are, say, exactly x universal semantic roles which can occur as core arguments in a clause in human language. The most obvious language design would have x case markers, one for each underlying role; every argument would simply be marked for its semantic role, which could then be read directly off the surface morphosyntax () (our highlighting)



Initiator will be assigned to the position 1, Theme (for Figure) and Location (for Ground) vary between 2 and 3 depending on the nature of the P head, central or terminal coincidence. If P is central, then the Ground will 2 and 3, Figure, while if P is terminal, it will be the other way around.Force is within the Initiator spherePercept ("perceived entity") in the area of ThemeSource, Path, Goal, Experiencer (see De Lancey, 2001), are interpreted within the Location sphere.

Case is the result of the local relationship between an argument and a functional-procedural node. We will work with a system of three cases, also structured as "spheres", in close relation to thematic roles. These underlying and universal cases would be Nominative, Accusative and Dative, names that we maintain as a matter of convenience and expository purposes, but we really should talk about an Initiator Case (Agent / Force), a Theme Case and a Location Case (comprising variants of terminal / central coincidence), regardless possibilities of morphological realization in different languages.

Nominative - Initiator Accusative - Theme Dative - Location

Nominative: read off from a {Time, {D}} local relation, and interpreted thematically (in the explicature building process, see Sperber & Wilson, 2003) as Agent / Force

Accusative: read off from a {Cause, {D}} local relation, and interpreted thematically as Theme, the object (Figure) located in / moving towards, etc. a Ground

Dative: read off from a {P, {D}} local relation, and interpreted thematically as Location, the Ground in Talmys terms.

An essential claim is that the spheres are not far apart, but in interaction, and there are points of contact. There are elements, uses of the VI corresponding canonically to one Case that appear in unusual configurations: of these, we will say they are intersective uses of the Cases (blue circles):


Examples:Accusative > Dative: ACC expresses location in space, time or property (i, ii and iii), or goal in movement (iv).Direction Accusative:Latin: Eo RomamACC (Lit. Go Rome I go towards/to Rome)Sanskrit: grmamACC gacchami (Lit. Town go I go to the town)Polish: id na pocztACC I am going to the post office, id po niegoACC go for him (go to pick him up) Temporal Accusative:Latin: quamdiu, quamdudum, quanto tempore complements.


Double accusative in ditransitive constructions: traditionally referred to as thing ACC and person ACC, they are within the P domain, as Theme and Goal.

Latin: Verres MilesiosACC navemACC poposcit. (Lit. Verres the milesians ship asked Verres asked a ship to the milesians), Quid meACC istudACC rogas? (Lit. Why to-me this ask? Why do you ask me this?)Greek: [didsk tos padasACC tn grammatiknACC] (Lit. I teach to-the children grammar I teach grammar to the children)Sanskrit: rjnamACC vacanamACC abravt (Lit. King some words said (He/She) said some words to the king)

We do not have double accusative constructions in PL

Nor do we have them in Spanish, but its due to specification of ACC, which does not allow Vocabulary Insertion in these DAT environments: dynamic, terminal coincidence, telic (mostly).15

Accusative > Nominative: ACC is the overt subject in non-finite clauses.

ECM (Exceptional Case Marking): Ingls: I want [themACC to come] Latn: Video [teACC venire] (Lit. See you to-come, I see you coming)Griego: [lgei [seACC elthenINF]] (Lit. dice te haber venido active aorist infinitive- (He/She) says you have come)Polish: Widz ciACC spicego. (I see you sleeping.)

Dative > Nominative: Dative appears in subject position in the Spelled-Out form. Quirky case:Icelandic: HenniDAT leiddust eirNOM (Lit. Her bored they They bored her) MerDAT tti [MariaNOM vera garfu] (Lit. To me seems Mary be intelligent Mary seems to me to be intelligent)Polish: MariiNOM znudzia si pracaNOM. (Mary got bored with work) JanowiDAT podoba si we Woszech. (John likes it in Italy.)Spanish: A JuanDAT leDAT basta con eso. (cf. Fernandez Soriano, 1999) A MaraDAT leDAT gusta el jazz


Values of the Genitive (DAT Sphere)Posession (material or metaphorical):Sanskrit: Damayantys svayabaras (Lit. Damayantis choice)Latin: id est domusNOM regisGEN (Lit. This is house of the king This is the house of the king)Greek: [h oika to patrsGEN] (Lit. The house of the father)Polish: sprawaNOM MariiGEN (Marys business/matter) Origin:Latin: AlteriusGEN partisGEN periculum (Lit. Somewhere else danger The danger [coming] from somewhere else)Greek (either concrete cities- or abstract locations families-): [Skrts ho sfronskou] (Lit. Socrates SofroniscoGEN Socrates, son of Sofronisco), [Athenin] (Socrates from Athens). Polish: haasNOM ulicyGEN noise of the streetQuality (Only for individual level predicates, for stage level predicates ablative case is used):Latin: Vir magnaeGEN auctoritatisGEN (Lit. Man of great authority)Polish: czowiekNOM honoruGEN (a person/man of honour)


Location through:Greek: [thousai pedoioGEN] (Lit. Running meadowGEN Running through the meadow)Goal:Sanskrit: PrjapaterGEN tmnam paridadmi (Lit. Prajapati myself give I give myself to Prajapati)Source:Greek: o [h pols pol apkhei ts hpeiru] (Lit. The city not far away from the coast The city is not far away from the coast / departing from the coast)Polish: mlekoNOM od krowyGEN (Lit. milk from the cow, cow milk)Part-whole: partitive GenitiveLatin: Magna pars ItaliaeGEN (A big part of Italy)Greek: [pteros tn adelfnGEN] (Which of the brothers?)Polish: butelkaNOM wodyGEN (a bottle of water)

However, all uses locative establish a locative relation between nominals, either concrete or abstract: a nominal "belongs" to another in a concrete or abstract, metaphorical way. Belonging is a type of location (either central or terminal coincidence). Therefore, we propose to subsume all of these uses the "sphere of Dative".

E.g.: Johns bag[V BE [P John [[WITH CENTRAL] bag]]

Is English [s] a CL (Radeva-Bork, 2012) or a case mark? Abney (1987) supports the idea it is a CL in D0 raising to Spec-DP, but:

It is not an argument, rather, a locative predicateIt only appears within full DP nominals, not with pronouns, which inflect for Case:i) A friend of [DP Johns]ii) A friend of mineiii) *A friend of [DP [[D mines] ]] (see Panagiotidis, 2002 for an analysis of pronouns as D with empty root complements)

There is, however, another type of "genitive: the "Subjective" and Objective", which appear in nominalizations as a light PP. These kinds of genitive also establish a locative relation between nominals: a conceptual event, syntactically categorized as a nominal, and a participant, either agent / initiator or theme. This conceptual relation must be syntactically realized without losing information (CP). This does not imply that there is a transformational relation between the nominalization and the tensed sentence form, but the explicature building process is analogous. These genitives are common features of Romance and Germanic languages, so they can not be considered an isolated anomaly.

What is interesting is that Polish does not allow them to cooccur, so while in English you can say the Romans destruction of the city in Polish you can only use either of the genitive arguments: zniszczenie miastaGEN (destruction of the city), zniszczenie RzymianGEN (can mean either: destruction of the Romans or the Romans destruction; but you can never say: *RzymianGEN zniszczenieNOM miastaGEN (the Romans destruction of the city). What you can do is say: zniszczenieNOM miastaGEN przez RzymianACC destruction of the city by