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LINGUIST List 24.3134

Fri Aug 02 2013

Diss: Syntax: Janke: 'Control without PRO'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <xiyanlinguistlist.org>

Date: 02-Aug-2013
From: Vikki Janke <v.jankekent.ac.uk>
Subject: Control without PRO
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Institution: University College London
Program: PhD in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Vikki L Janke

Dissertation Title: Control without PRO

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Dissertation Director:
Ad Neeleman
Neil Smith

Dissertation Abstract:

In this thesis I develop a syntactic representation of control that is
PRO-free. I implement a mechanism of theta-role assignment that uses
theta-role percolation (Neeleman and Van de Koot (2002)), which enables the
apparent subject properties of controlled infinitives to be reinterpreted
as properties associated with an external theta-role, rather than a
subject. I first analyse Obligatory Control (OC) using a de-compositional
analysis of theta-roles (independently motivated in Samek-Lodovici 2003),
according to which theta-roles are divided into two selectional
requirements, one that formally licenses arguments and another that
regulates interpretation. It is the latter one that regulates OC, by being
copied to the controller in the super-ordinate clause. The resulting theory
makes the same predictions as one based on PRO, yet avoids dependence on
this ill-defined element inherited from the GB era. I then offer an account
of the case-agreement properties of predicates in Icelandic infinitival
clauses; this data shows not only that PRO is unnecessary but that it
cannot actually fulfill the task for which it was proposed. An
extra-syntactic analysis is developed for Non-Obligatory Control (NOC),
since this relation is not syntactically constrained in the way that OC is.
I claim that in NOC structures the external theta-role is not saturated
syntactically. This unassigned role is subject to an LF-interpretative rule
that attributes it with a [+human] specification. This rule suffices for
cases in which the interpreted subject is understood generically, but in
long-distance control structures, the [+human] specification is further
supplemented by a discourse rule that links the theta-role to a highly
accessible antecedent, as developed in Ariel (1996). An attempt is made to
generalise the rules operative in NOC to the null-objects in Rizzi (1986),
the consequence of which is that no null-element would be projected in
these constructions either and the object properties would be reinterpreted
in terms of the internal theta-role complex. In the final chapter, I offer
an analysis of Partial Control (PC) (Landau 2000). On the basis of the
ambiguous properties pervading this relation, which belong to both OC and
NOC, I analyse PC as OC + NOC.

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