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LINGUIST List 20.2699

Thu Aug 06 2009

Diss: Syntax: Vinas de Puig: 'The Argument of Experience:...'

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        1.    Ricard Vinas de Puig, The Argument of Experience: Experience predicates and argument structure in Catalan and Mayangna

Message 1: The Argument of Experience: Experience predicates and argument structure in Catalan and Mayangna
Date: 05-Aug-2009
From: Ricard Vinas de Puig <vinasdepuigrecu.edu>
Subject: The Argument of Experience: Experience predicates and argument structure in Catalan and Mayangna
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Institution: Purdue University
Program: Linguistics Program
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Ricard Vinas de Puig

Dissertation Title: The Argument of Experience: Experience predicates and argument structure in Catalan and Mayangna

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Subject Language(s): Catalan-Valencian-Balear (cat)

Dissertation Director:
Elena Benedicto

Dissertation Abstract:

In this dissertation I propose a universally available structure for
experience predicates. According to this structure, which is exemplified in
two typologically unrelated linguistic families (Mismumalpan and Romance),
the EXPERIENCE merges with a V head and creates a predication-like
structure with the SOURCE OF EXPERIENCE. A verbal functional projection is
merged on top of VP, responsible for the introduction of the EXPERIENCER as
VP-external argument. This BASIC EXPERIENCE STRUCTURE allows for different
levels of parameterization. The EXPERIENCE can undergo syntactic
incorporation on V or surface as an independent argument, triggering the
presence of a light verb.

Some experience predicates are the result of a structure without the
introduction of the SOURCE. This triggers two logical possibilities: a. the
EXPERIENCER is assigned inherent Dative Case, as attested in Mayangna; or
b. the EXPERIENCER enters into structural Case assigning relations, thus
receiving Nominative.

The eventive interpretation of (otherwise stative) experience predicates is
accounted for by merging two possible heads selecting vEXPP. Following
recent approaches on event structure and causation, I argue that if an
unaccusative vBECOME head selects vEXPP, an eventive interpretation with no
external Causer is obtained (i.e. internally triggered experiences). The
resulting structure is the base for another event layer: if a vCAUSP, which
introduces an external CAUSER, is merged on top of vBECOMEP we obtain an
interpretation of an experience caused by an external CAUSER (i.e.
externally triggered experiences). The agentive interpretation is the
result of the event structure headed by vCAUS, which introduces an external
CAUSER with animate features. This agentive interpretation, also attested
crosslinguistically, is conditioned by a restrictive subset of EXPERIENCES,
which share eventive features.

The analysis of experience predicates that I put forth in this dissertation
fills one of the gaps in the related literature, as it presents a sound
basis for the different realizations of experience predicates, building
from a simple argument structure. In addition, the availability of merging
different functional projections accounts for the different possible
interpretations of the predicate. This structure also opens the door to
further related research regarding the possible realization of experiences
in other languages and the interpretation and valuation of phases.

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