Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/11707/325
Title: Non-overt Arguments in the Instructional Register of English
Authors: Giusti, Giuliana
Fior, Virginia Margherita
Keywords: English language - Null objects
English language - Null subjects
Specialised languages
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Università Ca' Foscari, Venezia
Abstract: Although English is commonly known as a non pro drop language, this phenomenon is rather attested in certain special registers of English. English speakers regularly drop subjects in many informal circumstances, such as in Colloquial Speech, Diaries and Notetaking, but non-overt arguments seem to be a general possibility in a variety of formal contexts too, such as Instructional Registers, Telegrams, Newspaper Headlines. In this paper I will focus my attention on the syntactic and pragmatic properties of non-overt subjects and objects in the Instructional Register. In Chapter 1, I will first hint at the principles and parameters of the Universal Grammar and, in particular, at the pro-drop and object-drop parameters. Then, by means of syntactic tests, I will try to prove that instructions exhibit imperative sentences rather than infinitives, since they present the same morphology in English, i.e. the bare stem of the verb without any overt inflectional endings. In Chapter 2, since imperatives normally lack an overt subjects, I will demonstrate that the features relevant for the interpretation of the subject are not associated with the verb itself, but with a subject syntactically represented, though phonetically null. I will also try to determine the identity of non-overt subjects and what the syntactic representation of imperatives may look like. In Chapter 3, on the basis of empirical data provided by some cookbooks, cosmetics instructions and user’s manuals, I will illustrate that the Recipe Object Drop is a phenomenon which is cross-linguistically very common. Looking at the properties of non-overt objects and at the constraints on their distribution, I will investigate on what property enables non-over objects to appear in this register and how such a structure could be syntactically represented. Finally, in Chapter 4, I will make a comparison between the structures of recipes and instructions of English, Italian and Spanish.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11707/325
Appears in Collections:Ca' Foscari PhD and MA Theses

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