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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 80

John Anderson 80 Argument-sharing collapses ‘raising’ and ‘subject-formation’. In (177), however, the free { {abs}} of expect is outranked as potential subject by its subcategorised-for { {loc,erg}} (‘experiencer’) argument: (177) {P} | { {abs}} {P;N/{loc.erg}} : : { {loc,erg} : { {abs}} {P;N,*P/P;N} | : : : {N} : { {abs}} : {P;N/{loc,erg},{abs}} : : : : : : : { {loc,erg}} : : { {abs}} : : | : : | : : {N} : : {N} : : : : : : : : : : : : Fritz expects John to know that And we have so-called ‘subject-to-object raising’. I suggest that this argument-sharing, involving free abs, serves another interface function. It identifies a slot, iconically earlier than the one its contents would otherwise occupy, that is the unmarked location for thematically significant referential material. Here we might expect to find topical or empathetic material. The syntax of free abs is of course denaturalised, and may be overridden, by intonational means, or by a higher free abs. This is how we might interpret the syntax of (178.a), as represented in (b), ignoring the negation: (178) a. John I may encounter b. {P{focus}} | { {abs}} {P} : : : { {abs}} : {P;N/{loc.erg},{abs}} : : : : : : : : { {abs}} { {loc,erg}} : : | : : : {N} {N} : : : : : : : : : : John I may encounter The free abs of the focus predicator need not be filled by the subject of the sentence, but can be shared with other arguments. Here the subject of stand shares its argument with the free abs of the modal, but it does not share with the { {abs}} of the focus predicator (which is available as an extension of the basoc {P}). The effect of (178) is to allow John to

81 Structural analogy in language, and its limits ‘usurp’ the thematically most significant slot. But it tends to confirm the suggestion that the basis of argument-sharing with free abs lies in thematic function. This is not a function shared with the phonology, given its foundation in interface requirements. And, indeed, ectopicity would be incompatible with the nature of the phonological interface. It is the semanticity of syntax that enables us as users to reconcile the dislocation with the other structural properties of the displaced item, such as its satisfaction of the subcategorisation requirements of some predicator. This is not only lacking in phonology, but also the determination of linearity in phonology is associated with largely invariable interface properties to do with sonority. A rather more drastic usurpation of this privileged ‘subject’ position is associated with some of those constructions in English which represent residues of the ‘V-2’ (‘verbsecond’) syntax which at least partially (or as an option) characterised Old English main clauses. I return below to the significance of ‘V-2’; let us at this point look at the Presentday English situation. There are four main ‘V-2 residuals’ in English, exemplified by (179): (179) a. Here comes Charley b. Never had Eric eaten such a meal c. What had Eric eaten? d. There were bugs in the soup The last one is distinguished from all the rest by the subject status of the initial element. As already observed in relation to the discussion of (87), in sentences such as (179.d) the subject position seems to have been ‘usurped’ to the extent that it is filled by an expletive. The subcategorised-for post-verbal { {abs}} argument bugs retains the morphosyntactic subject property of controlling concord (cf. There was a bug in the soup), but the syntactic subject is there, which undergoes ‘raising’, for instance: (180) There seem to have been bugs in the soup Concord appears on the most immediately superordinate finite. In (179.d) the potential subject bugs has failed to occupy specifier position, as it does in (181): (181) Bugs were in the soup The motivation for this is clearly thematic: indefinites are disfavoured as utteranceintroducers. ‘Main-verb’ uses of the operative auxiliaries – i.e. where they are subcategorised for more than a verb-form, which is what the subcategorisation of progressives etc. is limited to (recall (110.a)) – involve an analogue to the (157) redundancy, the redundancy that allows finiteness to lexical verbs: (157) {P} | {P:N} ⇒ {P:N} That is, we have the option in (182):

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