AW: SLASH propagation vs. internal merge: Rewind

Borsley R D rborsley at essex.ac.uk
Tue Jun 7 03:44:06 EST 2005


Actually I realize that the construction I cited is not the comparative
correlative but another one also highlighted in Culicover's Syntactic
Nuts, in which the copula is optional. There seem to be at least three
such constructions, as follows:

No matter how clever the students (are) ___, ...
The more intelligent the students (are) ___, ...
However clever the students (are) ___

You clearly have a head-filler phrase when the copula is present, and it
seems natural to assume that the same is true when the copula is missing.
Within P&P this more or less means that you have to assume a null form of
the copula whose complement must be fronted. However, given the copy
theory of movement it is not clear how you can ensure that the complement
is fronted.

best

Bob

Prof. Robert D. Borsley
Department of Language and Linguistics
University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
COLCHESTER CO4 3SQ, UK

rborsley at essex.ac.uk
tel: +44 1206 873762
fax: +44 1206 872198
http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~rborsley

On Tue, 7 Jun 2005, Tibor Kiss wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I'll try to answer the recent remarks by Bob, Carl, and Detmar.
>
> From Bob's mail (pseudo-cleft, comparative correlatives):
>
> > Actually I also mentioned the comparative correlative construction, with
> the following data:
> >
> > No matter how clever the students (are) ___, ...
> > The students *(are) very clever.
>
> Correct. Sorry. Do I get it right that the optionality of the copula is what
> is at stake here? Or more generally, would one want to provide a
> movement-based analysis of the CCC?
>
> From Carl's mail (pseudo-cleft):
>
> > Consider also:
> >
> >   What he may do next is he may just decide to forget the whole thing.
> >
> >   What happpened next is (that) it started to hail.
> >
> > (Thanks to Elizabeth Smith for pointing out that the postcopular
> > phrase in a pseudocleft can be a clause, even if the precopular
> > material either has no gap at all, or else has a gap that a clause
> > wouldn't fit into.)
>
> Doesn't this point in the same direction, i.e. that one does not want a
> movement-based analysis of pseudo-clefts?  (Implying: no movement-based
> analysis -> no involvement of CTM).
>
> From Detmar's mail (partial VP topicalization):
>
> > In what sense is this "an obscure construction" and "not pervasive"?
> > Obligatorily coherent verbs are among the most frequent verbs
> > selecting verbal complements in German, and we are talking about
> > fronting of their VP complement, which is a completely normal word
> > order option in German.
>
> As I pointed out, the analysis type is *not pervasive*. The analysis assumes
> that something lexical be present at the extraction site, but something
> non-lexical identical be present at landing site. The PVP-construction seems
> to be the only construction which requires such an analysis.
>
> Matters of frequency are not at stake here. The question is: Assuming the
> existence of a particular theoretical mechanism, as e.g. allowing extraction
> and landing site type differing w.r.t. lexicality, why is this construction
> not attested over and over? (Or at least found in one other construction
> apart from PVP?)
>
> From Carl's mail, referring to the general problem:
>
> > I haven't grasped the overall structure of the argument you are making
> > here. Is your position simply that SLASH values should be of type
> > _synsem_ (or maybe even _sign_), not _local_, and that position simply
> > IS the CTM couched in HPSG terms? If so, then are you advocating typer
> > _synsem_, or type _sign_, or just not doing HPSG?
>
> No, my question was: assuming that SLASH values are less than a full copy of
> a filler, does anything follow from this partiality? The MP 'advocates' that
> SLASH is of type _sign_, while HPSG assumes it is _local_. So one could ask:
> What are the differences emerging from this distinction?
>
> From Carl's mail, re: Chamorro
>
> > I think that the Chamorro-case should be taken in the same way: The
> > phenomenon is not pervasive and in fact, we don't know
> > whether languages
> > exist which actually mark an XP[SLASH Y[QUE ZP]].
> > >>
> >
> > I take you you advocate allowing for the possibility that
> > such languages do
> > exist?
>
> The problem is that we cannot definitely say that such languages do not
> exist. Personally, I would assume the type is unlikely, but I would not
> built an argument on top of this assumption.
>
> From Carl's mail, re: binding
>
> > [1] Which picture of himself_i/j does John_i say Peter_j likes.
> >
> > ...
> >
> > Does this remain true if LIKES is replaced by STOLE or DEFACED?
>
> I don't understand your question. HPSG-94 took it as a virtue that the
> _i-coindexation is not blocked, and I'd say that the _i-coindexation should
> be blocked in the majority of the cases in other languages, leaving [1] as a
> possible exception to a general rule. [Philological caveat: HPSG-94 did not
> speak about other languages than English, I know, but the analysis should
> scale up at least a little.]
>
> Finally, Carl on parasitic gaps:
>
> > This is true, but this is not so much a bug in a certain account of
> > UDC's as it is is a general HPSG architectural bug, one that was first
>
> Well, it is an architectural bug and a theoretical bug, if you can follow my
> considerations re: [3].
>
> [3] [The book]_k,  [[without even reading _k]_j, [I don't know [[how many
> reports]_i [Kim [[filed _i] _j]]]]]
>
> In any case, we cannot attack MP by first stating that we have a nice
> construction here, which unfortunately leads to peculiar consequences both
> from a formal-architectural and from a theoretical-empirical point of view.
>
> In sum, if a movement-based analysis of pseudo-clefts and CCCs are
> inevitable and if we can offer a treatment of parasitic gaps which does not
> face the problems above (**), then these constructions may be of comparative
> use.
>
> (**) I would like to remind you that GPSG did not have the parasitic gap
> problem and excluded Carl's initial ungrammatical example as well. In
> addition, doesn't [how many reports] in the lower SpecCP already block an
> extraction of the adjunct in your initial example?
>
> Best
>
> T.
>
>



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