LINGUIST List 15.1480

Mon May 10 2004

Review: Syntax: Manninen (2003)

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  1. Eugenia Romanova, Small Phrase Layers: A Study of Finnish Manner Adverbials

Message 1: Small Phrase Layers: A Study of Finnish Manner Adverbials

Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 14:20:54 -0400 (EDT)
From: Eugenia Romanova <>
Subject: Small Phrase Layers: A Study of Finnish Manner Adverbials

AUTHOR: Manninen, Satu
TITLE: Small Phrase Layers
SUBTITLE: A Study of Finnish Manner Adverbials
SERIES: Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 65
PUBLISHER: John Benjamins
YEAR: 2003
Announced at

Eugenia Romanova, University of Tromso


The book is an updated version of the author's doctoral dissertation,
which explains its structure: a fairly big part, namely two chapters,
represents general theoretical background underlying the work and
describes the details of the language specific grammar. On the whole,
it is a brave attempt to investigate such a complicated phenomenon as
manner adverbials in such a complicated language as
Finnish. Discussing manner adverbials, Manninen has to work out the
structure of the Finnish sentence, explain the aspectual properties of
the language, introduce and analyze the case system, check her
assumptions by appealing to island effects, anaphora binding, negative
polarity items etc. All this makes the book truly encyclopaedic in
contents and number of approaches.


Introduction posits the questions for answering in the subsequent
chapters. However the main question 'What is a manner adverbial?' has
no definite reply in literature. Thus Manninen has to decide for
herself that they include elements that can be paraphrased by the
expressions meaning 'in that way', by finite subordinate clauses
saying 'in such way that...' and phrases answering questions like
'how?' and 'in what way?' (p.7). An extensive classification of
adverbials is cited from Hakulinen & Karlsson (1979); for the present
purposes it is important to note that all adverbials are subdivided
into sentence modifying and verb/VP (Verbal Phrase) modifying and can
be obligatory and optional. Manner adverbials are verb/VP modifiers
and still can be obligatory and optional. They can be realized as any
grammatical category or as a whole phrase/clause: as adverbs, nouns,
adjectives and numerals, as prepositional and postpositional phrases,
non-finite verbs and finite subordinate clauses. In this row adverbs
do not stand out: they behave exactly in the same way as other
categories with respect to such operations as Wh-movement and Focus;
they compete for the same site in the tree, and it does not matter if
they are optional or obligatory. Before submerging into the
intricacies of the Finnish morphology, Manninen gives a preview of an
interesting problem revisited in Chapter 6: why is it so that the
mutual order of manner, place and time adverbials is free, whereas it
is fixed between them and direct objects of VP? And then comes the
introduction to Finnish morphology and word order.

Chapter 2, 'The Minimalist Framework and the Structure of Finnish
Sentences', gives an outline of the Minimalist Inquiries (Chomsky
2000, 2001) and related work, which serve the basis for the analysis
to follow. Within this framework the author offers the functional
structure of Finnish sentences. It is: 
(1) [FinP [NegP [Tense/MoodP [AuxP [PcpP [VoiceP [VP ... ]]]]]]] (p.55)

Some explanations are due here. FinP is a Finiteness Phrase and its
head hosts finiteness and subject-verb agreement features. The
grammatical subject raises to Spec, FinP and has a discourse function
of a topic. The head of NegP (Negation Phrase) contains the negative
verbal element 'ei', which inflects for agreement. The author follows
Holmberg et al (1993), Holmberg & Nikanne (1994, 2002) in uniting
tense and mood features in Tense/MoodP: tense is a subcategory of mood
for her. AuxP is an Auxiliary Phrase hosting the auxiliary verb
'olla', and PcpP is a Participial Phrase, which hosts the participial
form of the lexical verb. Its existence is motivated by the tense
distinction on participles, which is separate from mood, and which can
be realized as either present (first participle) or non-present
(second participle) forms (p.55). The author assumes that FinP and
Tense/MoodP are present in all Finnish finite sentences, whereas NegP,
AuxP and PcpP are present when necessary, VoiceP is present only in
passive constructions. Another novelty in this chapter describes
feature checking of direct objects. DPs bearing Partitive case check
their aspectual subfeature [Completed] against the features of the
AspP (Aspectual Phrase); DPs bearing Accusative case check their
transitivity-related subfeature against the features of TrP
(Transitive Phrase). Closer to the summary the author also gives
interesting considerations concerning the structure of Finnish CP
(Complementizer Phrase), which precedes FinP. However they are beyond
the scope of the book and are not discussed any further.

Chapter 3, 'Adverbials and Functional Categories', discusses three
main approaches to adverbials and shows that the first two are
wrong. The approaches are: modification, predication and feature
checking/matching. The third perspective, based on the work by Travis
(1988), treats adverbials as Adv heads, which are licensed by the
appropriate features on the C, INFL (Inflection) and V heads, each
head having its own set of features and licensing its own
adverbials. The problem with this approach is that it actually
considers only adverbs proper, not other adverbials, which were
previously shown by Manninen to have the same syntactic distribution
as adverbs. She is more attracted to the views of Cinque (1999),
Alexiadou (1997) and Laenzlinger (1998), in spite of the fact that all
of them are faced with unsolved problems.

Chapter 4, 'The Structure of Finnish Manner Adverbials', opens the
part of the book filled with data and the author's position on the
subject matter. Data show: there are two big groups of adverbials, one
includes those that can have morphological case (nominal and
infinitival adverbials), the other contains PPs (Prepositional and
Postpositional Phrases) and adverbs; all adverbials are XPs rather
than heads - which is demonstrated by Wh- and Focus movement
operations. Speaking about case, the author adopts the idea by
Holmberg & Platzak (1995) about structural and lexical checking: it
depends on the D (Determiner) head if a DP needs either of them, both
or none. DPs with structural case check their uninterpretable features
against the features of functional Fin (Nominative case), Tr
(Accusative case) and Asp (Partitive case) heads. Manninen offers a
special analysis for PPs, only after which she can go on to discuss
lexical cases. Prepositions and postpositions can assign both a
theta-role and a case, a PP must consisit of a lexical and a
functional head, much like VP and vP: PP and pP. Adverbials are merged
as specifiers of verbal and functional heads 'under feature checking
or matching between the adverbials and the licensing heads' (p.121). A
special semantic feature ('sigma') is crucial for the checking or
matching operation: V/v has a selectional feature for a manner
adverbial, 'sigma'-feature present on p head allows V/v head to
identify the pP as a manner adverbial. Because p heads are capable of
checking and eliminating case features on their DP complements, this
feature is no longer available on pPs.

Most lexical case inflections in Finnish took their origin from
postpositions, so there is nothing surprising in treating kPs and KPs
(Kase Phrases) as pPs and PPs (manner adverbials are all kPs). Thus,
kPs have no case features available for future valuing. What about
adverbs? Most of them had either a noun or an adjective as a
predecessor (before the attachment of the adverbial morphology), so
the task is to show that adverbs do exist as a separate category. The
author proves the assumption on the basis of semantic meaning
distinctions and differences in syntactic distribution between the
three mentioned above categories. That's done, she follows Larson's
(1987) idea that -ly in English is an Adv head and a morphological
case marker on adjectives. Thus, adverbs behave like pPs and kPs -
they do not need to have their case features valued outside their own

In Chapter 5, 'A Theory of Layered VPs', Manninen assumes that VPs
have a layered structure consisting of one lexical VP and one or
several (little) vPs. One evidence for this in Finnish is virtually
unlimited number of recursive causative suffixes on one verb: upota
'sink' (intransitive) - upo-tt-aa 'sink' (transitive) - upo-tu-tt-aa -
upo-ta-tu-tt-aa etc. As can be seen, a detailed discussion of argument
structure and argument realization is necessary - and it does take
place along with the analysis of theta-role assignment, the hierarchy
of theta-roles, the position of the arguments having different
theta-roles. The aim of this analysis is to unify all arguments of
the VP wrt their position - they all originate as the specifiers of
little vPs. In the course of derivation the original positions are
abandoned by most arguments. For example, as was mentioned before,
grammatical subjects are topics in Finnish and they raise to Spec,
FinP. Locatives can also become topics and raise to Spec, FinP, but
manner adverbials cannot. Why? This is not the only question raised
here. The author leaves ''these questions open for future research''
(p.191). The chapter is closed by the discussion of the mutual order
of indirect and direct objects. It is designed for examining the
position of arguments even in greater detail, the use of which will
become clear in the next chapter.

Chapter 6, 'The Position of Finnish Manner Adverbials', is another
important part of the book. Here the author shows that the mutual
order of the theme argument and manner adverbials is fixed, whereas
the mutual order of manner, place and time adverbials is free. To
arrive at the former conclusion Manninen had to appeal to the
following syntactic tests: anaphor binding, referential expressions,
superiority effects and negative polarity. To account for the latter
she had to return to the theory of layered VPs and assume that
specifiers of multiple little vPs (occupied by the adverbials) behave
like segments wrt c-command - they cannot asymmetrically c-command
each other, but they are all c-commanded by the direct object, as the
tests listed in the previous sentence showed. She supports her
findings by the Italian data from Rizzi (1997), according to which
Italian has a layered Topic projection. As the adverbials in Finnish
or topics in Italian cannot be linearized by LCA (Linear
Correspondence Axiom (Kayne, 1994)), ''they are created at random
temporal order in the PF component of the grammar...'' (p.248)


The book is an important piece of scientific literature written within
the Minimalist framework with Finnish as the subject language. This is
not a frequent combination. The ideas presented in the book are often
novel and unusual, which makes the work interesting (except chapter 5,
where the discussion of argument positions goes into deep details,
which slightly shut off a more general picture).

There are two notes concerning the author's attitude to such problems
as aspect and extraction from islands. The first problem might be
crucial for distinguishing some parts of the structure (like TrP and
AspP) and mechanisms of feature checking connected with them. The
author postulates two positions for valuing structural case features,
because, according to her, aspectual case variation is possible even
with intransitive verbs. She gives the following example: 

 a. Poydalle putosi kakku. 'A cake.ACC fell onto the table.'
 b. Kakku putosi poydalle. 'The cake.ACC fell onto the table.'
 c. Poydalle putosi kakkua. 'Some cake.PART fell onto the table.'
 d. Kakkua putosi poydalle. 'Some cake.PART fell onto the table.'

It is well known that Finnish partitive is not uniform and it can be
either aspectual or quantificational (cf. Kiparsky, 1998; Thomas,
2003). In examples (2b,c) it is the case of quantificational
partitive, which can be even seen from the translation 'some
cake'. The aspect in sentences from (2a) to (2d) does not change
independently of the case of the argument.

The second problem is presentational in nature. Comparing extraction
from DPs with extraction from kPs and pPs (which really persuasively
yields a desirable result), Manninen does not preserve the uniformity
of extractees and thus no neat minimal pairs are available for
argumentation. In her (22) on p.216 she extracts complements from DPs,
but in (26) on p. 219 specifiers. In fact, to extract 'whose' even
from DPs would be impossible: 
(3) *Kenen Sirkku luki t kirjan? '*Whose (did) Sirkku read a book?'

In fact no extraction from pPs or kPs is ever allowed, the same result
is obtained if complements are used:

(4) *Mita viinia Sirkku puhui pullosta t? 
 '*What wine.PART Sirkku spoke about a bottle?'

The explanation of the phenomenon in (3) and (4) is beyond the scope
of this review and interested readers are referred to, for example,
Starke (2001).

On the whole, this book offers an interesting journey into the
complexities of Finnish grammar with often ingenious solutions
supplied by the author along the way.


Alexiadou, Artemis. 1997. Adverb Placement: a Case Study in
Antisymmetric Syntax. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Chomsky, Noam. 2000. ''Minimalist Inquiries: the Framework.'' Step by
Step ed. by Roger Martin, David Michaels & Juan Uriagereka,
88-155. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press

Chomsky, Noam. 2001. ''Derivation by Phase.'' Ken Hale: a Life in
Language, ed. by Michael Kenstowicz, 1-52. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT

Cinque, Guglielmo. 1999. Adverbs and functional heads: A
cross-linguistic perspective. Oxford Studies in Comparative
Syntax. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Hakulinen, Auli & Fred Karlsson. 1979. Nykysuomen
lauseoppia. Helsinki: SKS.

Holmberg, Anders & Urpo Nikanne. 1993. Case and Other Functional
Categories in Finnish Syntax. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Holmberg, Anders & Urpo Nikanne. 1994. ''Expletives and Subject
Positions in Finnish''. NELS 24: Proceedings of the North East
Linguistic Society, Volume One, ed. by Merce Goncalez, 173 -
187. University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Holmberg, Anders & Urpo Nikanne. 2002. ''Expletives, Subjects and
Topics in Finnish''. Subjects, Expletives and the EPP, ed. by Peter
Svenonius, 71-106. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kayne, Richard. 1994. The Antisymmetry of Syntax. Cambridge, Mass: The
MIT Press.

Kiparsky, Paul. 1998. ''Partitive Case and Aspect''. The Projection of
Arguments: Lexical and Compositional Factors, ed. by Miriam Butt &
Wilhelm Geuder, 265 - 308. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

Laenzlinger, Christopher. 1998. Comparative Studies in Word Order
Variation: Adverbs, Pronouns, and Clause Structure in Romance and
Germanic. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Larson, Richard. 1987. ''Missing Prepositions and the Analysis of
English Free Relative Clauses''. Linguistic Inquiry 16, 595-621.

Rizzi, Luigi. 1997. ''Fine Structure of the Left Periphery''. Elements
of Grammar, ed. by Liliane Haegeman, 281 - 337. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Starke, Michal. 2001. Move Dissolves into Merge: A Theory of Locality.
PhD Thesis, University of Geneva.

Thomas, Rose. 2003. The Partitive in Finnish and its Relation to the
Weak Quantifiers. PhD Thesis. University of Westminster.

Travis, Lisa. 1988. ''The Syntax of Adverbs'' McGill Working Papers in
Linguistics: Special Issue on Comparative Germanic Syntax


The reviewer would like to thank the people who provided her with
valuable help during her preparation of the review: Monika Basic,
Kirsi Niemila, Gillian Ramchand and Peter Svenonius.


Eugenia Romanova is writing her PhD dissertation at Tromso University.
Her main interests concern the syntax and semantics of Russian verbal
predicates and their relationship with the interpretation and
morphological realization (case, for example) of their direct objects.
She is also attracted to Uralic languages, especially Finnish, and the
verb-object interaction there.
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