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Academic Paper


Title: Case and Word Order in Lithuanian
Steven Franks
Institution: Indiana University Bloomington
Author: James E Lavine
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/jlavine/
Institution: Bucknell University
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: Lithuanian
Abstract: This paper examines the unusual case and word order behavior of objects of infinitives in Lithuanian. In addition to lexically determined case idiosyncrasy, Lithuanian exhibits syntactically determined case idiosyncrasy: with infinitives in three distinct constructions, case possibilities other than accusative obtain. These cases (dative, genitive, and nominative) depend on the general clause structure rather than on the particular infinitive. Moreover, unlike ordinary direct objects, these objects appear in a position preceding rather than following the verb. It is argued that they move to this position in order potentially to be accessible for Case assignment by some higher Case-assigning head. In this way we unify the two superficially unrelated properties of non-canonical word order and Case. This movement, however, is not feature-driven in the sense of standard minimalist Case-licensing mechanisms. We characterize it as 'agnostic' in that it applies to an object with unvalued Case features, if that object reaches a point in the derivation where it has no recourse but to move because failure to do so would be fatal.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Linguistics Vol. 42, Issue 2.

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