LINGUIST List 9.1145

Mon Aug 17 1998

Books: Syntax

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <martylinguistlist.org>


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  1. Rebecca Wipfler, Syntax

Message 1: Syntax

Date: 13 Aug 98 10:00:10 -0500
From: Rebecca Wipfler <rebecca_wipflergarland.com>
Subject: Syntax

Nelson, Diane Carlita; Grammatical Case Assignment in Finnish;
0-8153-3180-0, cloth; pages, $65; Garland Publishing; Outstanding
Dissertations in Linguistics

	This study presents an analysis of patterns of morphological
case in Finnish within the Principles and Parameters
framework. Finnish has a rich system of inflection for both case and
agreement, making it an important language for testing hypotheses
about the relationships between morphological case and abstract Case,
and Case/case and agreement. The focus of the study is a set of
syntactic environments where internal DP arguments appear in
nominative case, but alternate with accusative pronouns. In the same
contexts, internal arguments may also receive partitive case to encode
features related to aspect or indefiniteness. Because these
environments lack an external argument coindexed with agreement, the
data is particularly relevant to predictions made by Burzio's
Generalization. By testing Burzio's hypothesis systematically against
a range of sentence types, Finnish is shown to contain an ergative
case subsystem within a nominative-accusative main system. The
assignment of the objective cases is linked with the licensing of
aspectual roles at D-structure, and finite Tense is posited as a
bi-unique Case assigner. The case split then arises as the result of
two case features being assigned simultaneously to an internal
argument, objective Case at D-structure associated with aspect, and
nominative Case at S-structure associated with finite Tense where an
external argument is not available. Morphological spell-out rules for
particular argument types are proposed which determine the surface
case realization of doubly-case assigned nominals.

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