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LINGUIST List 18.369

Fri Feb 02 2007

Diss: Ling Theories/Syntax: Grahek: 'Argument Structure in Slovene'

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        1.    Sabina Grahek, Argument Structure in Slovene

Message 1: Argument Structure in Slovene
Date: 01-Feb-2007
From: Sabina Grahek <sgrahekhotmail.com>
Subject: Argument Structure in Slovene

Institution: University of Leeds
Program: Department of Linguistics & Phonetics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Sabina Grahek

Dissertation Title: Argument Structure in Slovene

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories

Subject Language(s): Slovenian (slv)

Dissertation Director:
Cécile De Cat
Diane C. Nelson

Dissertation Abstract:

The thesis is the first comprehensive study of the reflexive morpheme SE in
Slovene. Its main goal is to develop a unified analysis of Slovene SE which
would explain the syntactic realisation of arguments in predicates with SE,
where there is no simple correlation between semantics and syntax. I have
reviewed basic approaches to the problem of the syntax-semantics interface
and proposed that the argument mapping in Slovene constructions with SE can
be explained by combining the ideas of both lexical and syntactic
approaches, meaning that the information about the projection of their
arguments is available in the syntax as well as the lexicon. Based on the
investigation of the reflexive morpheme in several Indo-European languages,
which reveals that all of the languages considered share four types of
reflexive morpheme, I suggest that there are only four different types of
SE in Slovene according to its role during the derivation of sentences with
SE: reflexive/reciprocal, inherent, middle and causative. I argue that
Slovene SE is a role-reducing operator and that the four types of SE follow
from the interaction of two properties: whether SE reduces the object or
the subject role, and whether SE operates in the lexicon or the syntax.
This classification of SE is supported by the Slovene data since
constructions containing different types of SE display unique semantic and
syntactic properties and can be distinguished to the exclusion of others.
The unified analysis that I propose for Slovene SE assumes that there is a
single morpheme SE in the lexicon, which combines with different classes of
base verbs to derive sentences with SE and is generated as the head of its
own functional projection labelled SE phrase (SeP). I argue that SE has no
features of its own, and that only the properties of verbs and predicates
that SE occurs with determine how SE will affect their argument structure
and what the resulting syntactic structure and its semantic interpretation
will be. I have shown that the projection of arguments in Slovene
constructions with SE is determined not only by the distinction between
arguments associated with the object or the subject role, but also by the
presence of [±animate] objects and subjects and [±human] nominative
subjects, the distinction between external and internal causation, the
notion of spontaneous occurrence and the unavailability of non-SE variants.
The thesis has also made some novel claims about Slovene constructions with
SE. I argue that middle constructions in Slovene subsume all sentences with
SE and an implied indeterminate human argument - not only personal
(traditionally treated as passive) but also impersonal (commonly treated as
active) - because their SE has the same function of reducing the human
subject argument in the syntax. Another claim not yet proposed in the
literature is that SE in anticausatives and internal causatives represents
a single type of SE which reduces the external argument in the lexicon.

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