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Structural analogy in language and its limits [Contrast and analogy v.2]

Structural analogy in language and its limits [Contrast and analogy v.2]

John Anderson 40 In

John Anderson 40 In clauses like (86.b), in which regular syntactic subject-formation has failed, what I shall refer to as the ‘clausal’ element there occupies the empty subject position, as in (87): (87) {P} | {N} {P} : : : : {N} { } : : : : : : : : there is someone in that cupboard Such an analysis does not, of course, commit us to the view that there is necessarily contentless, i.e. a ‘true expletive’. (See further §3.3.) Likewise, we find an analogy to the harmonic ‘spreading’ of a secondary category exemplified by (82) in syntactic phenomena like ‘sequence of tenses’ (see e.g. Chung & Timberlake 1985: 212-3). Compare with (82), repeated here, the representation in (88) showing ‘sequence of tense’ in English: (82) {i} : : {V} | {V} {V} {V} : : : {C} {u} {C} {C} {a} {C} {C} {a} : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : t y h m ä [s t ä] (88) {past} : : {P{deictic}} | {N} {P;N} : : : : {P} : : : : : {N} : {P;N} : : : : : : : : : : John said [Mary had left] Said realises a complex category, with the specification for a lexical verb subordinate to the finiteness category; we return to this in §3. {past}, like {i} in (82), is a secondary category that is not a property of a particular element in the clause, and it is associated derivatively with the finiteness element expounded as said, and reflected in its morphology, as {i}

41 Structural analogy in language, and its limits is associated with the accent in (82). In (88), the dependent finite is within the domain of the clausal {past}, which is thus ‘spread’ to that dependent, if, as here, it is attached initially to an appropriate predicator. The {P} associated with said is deictic; it bears by default the secondary feature {deictic}: the {past} constitutes an absolute tense, identified directly with respect to the moment of speaking. For the {past} feature to ‘spread’, any {P} within its domain that is to be susceptible to it must not be deictic. Thus, the {P}s in (89.a) are deictic: (89) a. John said that Mary will come/is coming/has come/likes the picture b. John said that Mary liked the picture They are oriented with respect to the moment of speech, and reject the superordinate clausal {past}. The lower {P} in (88) is non-deictic (on the relevant interpretation), but the clause bears itself a {past} feature, and so is oriented in the past with respect to the deictic past of the main verb: it is a relative tense. The lower clause in (89.b) (on the relevant interpretation) bears no {past} feature itself, and so is oriented as non-past with respect to the (past) tense of the main verb: it too is relative. (See here particularly Declerck 1988, who argues persuasively against the traditional ‘formal’, or morphosyntactic view of ‘sequence of tenses’ adopted by Comrie 1986, and who also shows that such phenomena are not limited to classic ‘sequence of tenses’ circumstances.) As with a harmonic element, the clausal past is manifested in any eligible item within its domain. Thus, further evidence for the clausal status of ‘non-inherent’ tense, analogous to the phenomenon of vowel harmony, derives from its interpretative manifestation throughout the clause. It is not just that inherently tensed temporals such as that in (90.a) must agree with the clause’s tense, but also that other temporals not specified for tense are interpreted in accordance with the clausal element, as in (90.b): (90) a. She left last Tuesday b. She left on Tuesday Vowels within a harmonic item manifest the extra-segmental element; temporal elements throughout the clause are interpreted in accordance with the clausal tense element. The difference has to do with the nature of the two substances at the respective interfaces. But this does not obscure the analogy. 24 Each deictic tense introduces a new deictic domain, and blocks the ‘spread’ of a clausal tense feature. Thus, the final past in (91) is itself deictic and does not represent the spread of the initial {past}: (91) John said that Bill thinks that Mary liked the picture In the terms used with respect to the phonology of harmony, {deictic} is an opaque feature with respect to ‘spread’ of {past}. The phonological analogy here is clear. Consider, for instance, the role of {a} in Turkish vowel harmony, in blocking, in particular ‘roundness harmony’. Presence/absence of roundness, or gravity, is exhibited in each eligible vowel in simplex forms in Turkish, as illustrated in (92.a): (92) a. demir ‘anchor’, b. somun ‘loaf’, havruz ‘pot’ c. son-un ‘end’ gen., kÈz-Èn ‘girl’ gen.

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