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LINGUIST List 22.4921

Thu Dec 08 2011

Diss: Morphology/Pragmatics/Semantics: DeRoma: 'Divide et Impera ...'

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        1.     Cynthia DeRoma , Divide et Impera - separating operators from their variables


Message 1: Divide et Impera - separating operators from their variables
Date: 06-Dec-2011
From: Cynthia DeRoma <cynthaxgmail.com>
Subject: Divide et Impera - separating operators from their variables
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Institution: University of Connecticut
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Cynthia Levart Zocca DeRoma

Dissertation Title: Divide et Impera - separating operators from their variables

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology
                            Pragmatics
                            Semantics
                            Syntax

Dissertation Director:
Zeljko Boskovic
Jonathan David Bobaljik
Yael Sharvit

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation investigates the role of lexical decomposition in several
syntactic and semantic issues. Two phenomena in particular are discussed:
Wh in situ in Wh-Movement languages and the behavior of even in English and
Brazilian Portuguese. For the first phenomenon, I propose that separating
Wh-phrases into two parts that can move independently from one another can
explain crosslinguistic differences between, among others, French and
Brazilian Portuguese with respect to the syntactic contexts that allow for
Wh in situ. I also investigate different strategies for establishing
syntactic covert relations and argue that Agree and Unselective Binding are
the two strategies that are needed to explain Wh in situ in Brazilian
Portuguese. Next, I look at the same phenomenon from a semantic/pragmatic
point of view and conclude that, in a Wh-Movement language like Brazilian
Portuguese, Wh in situ is only possible when the speaker assumes that the
presupposition of the question is part of the Common Ground. I also discuss
some crosslinguistic variation in this respect. I then move to a semantic
phenomenon, i.e. the behavior of even in English and Brazilian Portuguese.
More specifically, I investigate the behavior of even under a predicate
like glad. I show that in this case a lexical-decomposition analysis is not
necessary or enough to explain the facts adequately. On the other hand, I
propose that the distribution of stressed any can be accounted for if we
assume that it can be decomposed into any itself and a silent even.




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