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LINGUIST List 21.4472

Mon Nov 08 2010

Qs: Weak Islands: Arguments versus Adjuncts

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        1.     John Winward , Weak Islands: Arguments versus Adjuncts

Message 1: Weak Islands: Arguments versus Adjuncts
Date: 04-Nov-2010
From: John Winward <winwardtu.ac.th>
Subject: Weak Islands: Arguments versus Adjuncts
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I'm doing some empirical research with advanced L2 learners, looking
at the way they process island constraints on extraction. I'm particularly
interested in comparing argument and adjunct extraction from Weak (or
Selective) Islands. To make my research precise, I'm trying to construct
tokens in which operators act as arguments of the verb or adjuncts in
matched pairs. 'Where' and (to a somewhat lesser extent) 'how' are
straightforward enough to set up:

Argument:
John put the newspaper on the table.
* John put the newspaper.
* John put the newspaper on the table, and Fred did so on the floor.
Where did Fred wonder whether John put the newspaper?
etc.

Adjunct:
John read the newspaper on the train.
John read the newspaper.
John read the newspaper on the train, and Fred did so in the office.
Where did Fred wonder whether John read the newspaper?
etc.

But what about 'when' and 'why'? I've got a stack of theoretical
accounts, such as Szabolcsi's 2006 paper on Weak Islands, but none
that cite directly relevant data. In Section 5, she states the familiar
observation that arguments are not sensitive to WIs while adjuncts are.
However, the illustrative tokens she gives for 'why' and 'when'
extraction are adjunct extractions only (84 and 85), while the single
example of a one-to-one contrast between adjunct and argument
extraction (86) uses 'where' (and, ironically, she uses it to argue that,
in the case of 'where', sensitivity *doesn't* depend much on whether it's
an argument or an adjunct).

Can anyone point to any data that compare adjunct/argument
extractions directly, in this way? Or are all the accounts based on
comparing - for example - an argument extraction of 'who(m)' with an
adjunct extraction of 'when', and so on.

John

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

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