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|Title:||Zero morphology : a study of aspect, argument structure and case|
|Abstract:||This thesis examines the relation between aspect, argument structure, and case. The approach developed in this thesis assumes that Dowty-style aspectual operators are zero affixes of the type discussed in Pesetsky 1995, that can head syntactic projections, and enter into semantic composition in the manner determined by the compositional semantics. The analysis of argument projection explored in this thesis follows Hoekstra and Mulder 1990 and Borer 1994 who proposed that arguments are not specified in the lexicon as being external or internal, and there are no linking conventions concerning projection of arguments. The present analysis develops this approach by using tools of compositional semantics to filter out impossible tree-verb combinations. This analysis is supported in this thesis by the relation between the syntactic position of the argument and semantic interpretation; the existence of verbs of variable behavior with respect to argument projection; the obligatoriness of internal arguments of telic verbs; and typology of the resultative constructions. This thesis further develops an Optimality-Theoretic approach to case, which assumes that distribution of cases is governed by the violable principles that require verbal heads to check their nominal features. This approach, combined with the analysis of argument structure assumed in this work, explains the differences between stative and active languages (Comrie 1981), distinguishes six case/agreement systems, and accounts for different types of splits, which include case/agreement splits, specificity-based and modality-based splits. The present analysis of aspect 4 and case is further shown to account for perfectivity-based splits in languages like Finnish and Georgian, and agentivity-based splits in languages with fluid case-marking (Dixon 1979, 1994). And, finally, the approach developed here is supported by the analysis of two classes of verbal roots in Russian, which check Accusative and Instrumental case and have different aspectual and morphosyntactic properties. It argues that Instrumental case on the direct object is not unpredictable in Russian, contra to the standard assumption that Instrumental case is lexical or idiosyncratic (Pesetsky 1982, Babby 1984, 1991, Neidle 1988).|
|Appears in Collections:||Dissertations (restricted access)|
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