LINGUIST List 14.3121

Fri Nov 14 2003

Diss: Syntax: Del Gobbo: 'Appositives...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. fdelgobb, Appositives at the Interface

Message 1: Appositives at the Interface

Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 14:47:36 -0500 (EST)
From: fdelgobb <>
Subject: Appositives at the Interface

Institution: University of California, Irvine
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Francesca Del Gobbo

Dissertation Title: Appositives at the Interface

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field: Syntax 
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin (code: CHN)

Dissertation Director 1: C-T James Huang
Dissertation Director 2: Naoki Fukui
Dissertation Director 3: Y-H Audrey Li
Dissertation Director 4: Utpal Lahiri

Dissertation Abstract:

Most properties of appositive relatives force us to treat them as
separate from their antecedent and from the matrix clause; at the same
time other properties (adjacency requirement, feature matching) call
for a structure in which the appositive relative and its antecedent do
form a constituent. This dissertation provides a solution to the above
paradox. I claim that appositives are generated as adjuncts of their
'heads E2', but they separate from them in order to be properly
interpreted. Following Sells ( 1985a,b) and Demirdache (1991), I
propose that the appositive relative pronoun is E-type. I adopt an
approach to E-type anaphora that is both grammatical (Heim 1990) and
pragmatic (Cooper 1979, Heim and Kratzer 1998). If the 'head' of the
relative is definite, the pronoun is replaced at LF by a copy of the
'head' only if the latter precedes the relative. If the 'head' is not
definite, the appositive is 'Restructured' into an independent
sentence before Spell-Out (becoming the sister of the matrix clause
under a Text node) only if the appositive occurs sentence-finally. At
LF, in this representation, the pronoun can correctly receive the
E-type interpretation following Heim's (1990) rule. In both cases, at
the level of discourse, the appositive is an independent sentence,
sister of the matrix and daughter of a Text node (see Heim's (1982)
Text Formation).

This theory predicts that prenominal relatives cannot be
appositive. To test this prediction, a substantial part of the
dissertation is devoted to the analysis of Chinese relatives.

Chapter 1 presents Aoun and Li's (2003) approach to relativization in
Chinese. The authors show that Chinese relative clauses can only be
analyzed in terms of adjunction structure. As for derivation, they
adopt a variety of strategies, including 'head'-raising and operator
movement. In order to economize on the strategies available, I
slightly modify and adopt Sauerland's (1998) matching
analysis. Sauerland (1998) proposes to treat the 'head'-raising
strategy as a special case of the matching strategy: The
'head'-raising derivation is chosen only if necessary. Throughout the
dissertation, relative clauses are analyzed as adjunction structures,
derived through operator movement (i.e. matching).

In Chapter 2 I show that Chinese relatives can only be
restrictive. This is striking, as Chao (1968) and Hashimoto (1971) -
among others - maintain that a relative in Chinese is interpreted as
appositive if it follows a demonstrative, but as restrictive if it
precedes it. My evidence comes from tests that use well-known
properties that distinguish appositives from restrictives. Chinese
relatives modifying pronouns and proper names also do not behave as
appositives. This is shown with binding and long-distance anaphora
facts, and with tests using sentential adverbs of modification and the
difference between presupposition and backgrounded assertion.

In Chapter 3 I address the issue of an appropriate semantics for
appositives. The proposed mechanism of interpretation of appositive
relatives predicts that appositives can modify quantified 'heads', as
long as they occur in sentence-final position. New data is presented
to show that such prediction is fulfilled. As for the semantics of
Chinese relatives mo difying proper names and pronouns, I adopt two
strategies. For a subset of the relevant cases, I propose that in
Chinese when a proper name or pronoun is combined with a restrictive
relative, the nominal is type-shifted to a predicate of type <e,t> (a
particular 'stage' of the individual). For those cases that are
resistant to a 'stage' level interpretation, I adopt the operation
Restrict (Chung and Ladusaw, 2003).
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