Review of Small Phrase Layers
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 17:56:16 +0200
From: Eugenia Romanova <email@example.com>
Subject" Small Phrase Layers: A Study of Finnish Manner Adverbials
AUTHOR: Manninen, Satu
TITLE: Small Phrase Layers
SUBTITLE: A Study of Finnish Manner Adverbials
SERIES: Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 65
PUBLISHER: John Benjamins
Eugenia Romanova, University of Tromso
The book is an updated version of the author's doctoral dissertation,
which explains its structure: a fairly big part, namely two chapters,
represents general theoretical background underlying the work and
describes the details of the language specific grammar. On the whole, it
is a brave attempt to investigate such a complicated phenomenon as manner
adverbials in such a complicated language as Finnish. Discussing manner
adverbials, Manninen has to work out the structure of the Finnish
sentence, explain the aspectual properties of the language, introduce and
analyze the case system, check her assumptions by appealing to island
effects, anaphora binding, negative polarity items etc. All this makes
the book truly encyclopaedic in contents and number of approaches.
Introduction posits the questions for answering in the subsequent
chapters. However the main question 'What is a manner adverbial?' has no
definite reply in literature. Thus Manninen has to decide for herself
that they include elements that can be paraphrased by the expressions
meaning 'in that way', by finite subordinate clauses saying 'in such way
that...' and phrases answering questions like 'how?' and 'in what way?'
(p.7). An extensive classification of adverbials is cited from Hakulinen
& Karlsson (1979); for the present purposes it is important to note that
all adverbials are subdivided into sentence modifying and verb/VP (Verbal
Phrase) modifying and can be obligatory and optional. Manner adverbials
are verb/VP modifiers and still can be obligatory and optional. They can
be realized as any grammatical category or as a whole phrase/clause: as
adverbs, nouns, adjectives and numerals, as prepositional and
postpositional phrases, non-finite verbs and finite subordinate clauses.
In this row adverbs do not stand out: they behave exactly in the same way
as other categories with respect to such operations as Wh-movement and
Focus; they compete for the same site in the tree, and it does not matter
if they are optional or obligatory. Before submerging into the
intricacies of the Finnish morphology, Manninen gives a preview of an
interesting problem revisited in Chapter 6: why is it so that the
mutual order of manner, place and time adverbials is free, whereas it is
fixed between them and direct objects of VP? And then comes the
introduction to Finnish morphology and word order.
Chapter 2, 'The Minimalist Framework and the Structure of Finnish
Sentences', gives an outline of the Minimalist Inquiries (Chomsky 2000,
2001) and related work, which serve the basis for the analysis to follow.
Within this framework the author offers the functional structure of
Finnish sentences. It is:
(1) [FinP [NegP [Tense/MoodP [AuxP [PcpP [VoiceP [VP ... ]]]]]]] (p.55)
Some explanations are due here. FinP is a Finiteness Phrase and its head
hosts finiteness and subject-verb agreement features. The grammatical
subject raises to Spec, FinP and has a discourse function of a topic. The
head of NegP (Negation Phrase) contains the negative verbal element 'ei',
which inflects for agreement. The author follows Holmberg et al (1993),
Holmberg & Nikanne (1994, 2002) in uniting tense and mood features in
Tense/MoodP: tense is a subcategory of mood for her. AuxP is an Auxiliary
Phrase hosting the auxiliary verb 'olla', and PcpP is a Participial
Phrase, which hosts the participial form of the lexical verb. Its
existence is motivated by the tense distinction on participles, which is
separate from mood, and which can be realized as either present (first
participle) or non-present (second participle) forms (p.55). The author
assumes that FinP and Tense/MoodP are present in all Finnish finite
sentences, whereas NegP, AuxP and PcpP are present when necessary, VoiceP
is present only in passive constructions. Another novelty in this chapter
describes feature checking of direct objects. DPs bearing Partitive case
check their aspectual subfeature [Completed] against the features of the
AspP (Aspectual Phrase); DPs bearing Accusative case check their
transitivity-related subfeature against the features of TrP (Transitive
Phrase). Closer to the summary the author also gives interesting
considerations concerning the structure of Finnish CP (Complementizer
Phrase), which precedes FinP. However they are beyond the scope of the
book and are not discussed any further.
Chapter 3, 'Adverbials and Functional Categories', discusses three main
approaches to adverbials and shows that the first two are wrong. The
approaches are: modification, predication and feature checking/matching.
The third perspective, based on the work by Travis (1988), treats
adverbials as Adv heads, which are licensed by the appropriate features
on the C, INFL (Inflection) and V heads, each head having its own set of
features and licensing its own adverbials. The problem with this approach
is that it actually considers only adverbs proper, not other adverbials,
which were previously shown by Manninen to have the same syntactic
distribution as adverbs. She is more attracted to the views of Cinque
(1999), Alexiadou (1997) and Laenzlinger (1998), in spite of the fact
that all of them are faced with unsolved problems.
Chapter 4, 'The Structure of Finnish Manner Adverbials', opens the part
of the book filled with data and the author's position on the subject
matter. Data show: there are two big groups of adverbials, one includes
those that can have morphological case (nominal and infinitival
adverbials), the other contains PPs (Prepositional and Postpositional
Phrases) and adverbs; all adverbials are XPs rather than heads - which is
demonstrated by Wh- and Focus movement operations. Speaking about case,
the author adopts the idea by Holmberg & Platzak (1995) about structural
and lexical checking: it depends on the D (Determiner) head if a DP needs
either of them, both or none. DPs with structural case check their
uninterpretable features against the features of functional Fin
(Nominative case), Tr (Accusative case) and Asp (Partitive case) heads.
Manninen offers a special analysis for PPs, only after which she can go
on to discuss lexical cases. Prepositions and postpositions can assign
both a theta-role and a case, a PP must consisit of a lexical and a
functional head, much like VP and vP: PP and pP. Adverbials are merged as
specifiers of verbal and functional heads 'under feature checking or
matching between the adverbials and the licensing heads' (p.121). A
special semantic feature ('sigma') is crucial for the checking or
matching operation: V/v has a selectional feature for a manner adverbial,
'sigma'-feature present on p head allows V/v head to identify the pP as a
manner adverbial. Because p heads are capable of checking and eliminating
case features on their DP complements, this feature is no longer
available on pPs.
Most lexical case inflections in Finnish took their origin from
postpositions, so there is nothing surprising in treating kPs and KPs
(Kase Phrases) as pPs and PPs (manner adverbials are all kPs). Thus, kPs
have no case features available for future valuing. What about adverbs?
Most of them had either a noun or an adjective as a predecessor (before
the attachment of the adverbial morphology), so the task is to show that
adverbs do exist as a separate category. The author proves the assumption
on the basis of semantic meaning distinctions and differences in
syntactic distribution between the three mentioned above categories.
That's done, she follows Larson's (1987) idea that -ly in English is an
Adv head and a morphological case marker on adjectives. Thus, adverbs
behave like pPs and kPs - they do not need to have their case features
valued outside their own phrase.
In Chapter 5, 'A Theory of Layered VPs', Manninen assumes that VPs have
a layered structure consisting of one lexical VP and one or several
(little) vPs. One evidence for this in Finnish is virtually unlimited
number of recursive causative suffixes on one verb: upota 'sink'
(intransitive) - upo-tt-aa 'sink' (transitive) - upo-tu-tt-aa -
upo-ta-tu-tt-aa etc. As can be seen, a detailed discussion of argument
structure and argument realization is necessary - and it does take place
along with the analysis of theta-role assignment, the hierarchy of
theta-roles, the position of the arguments having different theta-roles.
The aim of this analysis is to unify all arguments of the VP wrt their
position - they all originate as the specifiers of little vPs. In the
course of derivation the original positions are abandoned by most
arguments. For example, as was mentioned before, grammatical subjects are
topics in Finnish and they raise to Spec, FinP. Locatives can also become
topics and raise to Spec, FinP, but manner adverbials cannot. Why? This
is not the only question raised here. The author leaves "these questions
open for future research" (p.191). The chapter is closed by the
discussion of the mutual order of indirect and direct objects. It is
designed for examining the position of arguments even in greater detail,
the use of which will become clear in the next chapter.
Chapter 6, 'The Position of Finnish Manner Adverbials', is another
important part of the book. Here the author shows that the mutual order
of the theme argument and manner adverbials is fixed, whereas the mutual
order of manner, place and time adverbials is free. To arrive at the
former conclusion Manninen had to appeal to the following syntactic
tests: anaphor binding, referential expressions, superiority effects and
negative polarity. To account for the latter she had to return to the
theory of layered VPs and assume that specifiers of multiple little vPs
(occupied by the adverbials) behave like segments wrt c-command - they
cannot asymmetrically c-command each other, but they are all c-commanded
by the direct object, as the tests listed in the previous sentence
showed. She supports her findings by the Italian data from Rizzi (1997),
according to which Italian has a layered Topic projection. As the
adverbials in Finnish or topics in Italian cannot be linearized by LCA
(Linear Correspondence Axiom (Kayne, 1994)), "they are created at random
temporal order in the PF component of the grammar..." (p.248)
The book is an important piece of scientific literature written within
the Minimalist framework with Finnish as the subject language. This is
not a frequent combination. The ideas presented in the book are often
novel and unusual, which makes the work interesting (except chapter 5,
where the discussion of argument positions goes into deep details, which
slightly shut off a more general picture).
There are two notes concerning the author's attitude to such problems as
aspect and extraction from islands. The first problem might be crucial
for distinguishing some parts of the structure (like TrP and AspP) and
mechanisms of feature checking connected with them. The author postulates
two positions for valuing structural case features, because, according to
her, aspectual case variation is possible even with intransitive verbs.
She gives the following example:
(2) a. Poydalle putosi kakku. 'A cake.ACC fell onto the table.'
b. Kakku putosi poydalle. 'The cake.ACC fell onto the table.'
c. Poydalle putosi kakkua. 'Some cake.PART fell onto the table.'
d. Kakkua putosi poydalle. 'Some cake.PART fell onto the table.'
It is well known that Finnish partitive is not uniform and it can be
either aspectual or quantificational (cf. Kiparsky, 1998; Thomas, 2003).
In examples (2b,c) it is the case of quantificational partitive, which
can be even seen from the translation 'some cake'. The aspect in
sentences from (2a) to (2d) does not change independently of the case of
The second problem is presentational in nature. Comparing extraction from
DPs with extraction from kPs and pPs (which really persuasively yields a
desirable result), Manninen does not preserve the uniformity of
extractees and thus no neat minimal pairs are available for
argumentation. In her (22) on p.216 she extracts complements from DPs,
but in (26) on p. 219 specifiers. In fact, to extract 'whose' even from
DPs would be impossible:
(3) *Kenen Sirkku luki t kirjan? '*Whose (did) Sirkku read a book?'
In fact no extraction from pPs or kPs is ever allowed, the same result is
obtained if complements are used:
(4) *Mita viinia Sirkku puhui pullosta t?
'*What wine.PART Sirkku spoke about a bottle?'
The explanation of the phenomenon in (3) and (4) is beyond the scope of
this review and interested readers are referred to, for example, Starke
On the whole, this book offers an interesting journey into the
complexities of Finnish grammar with often ingenious solutions
supplied by the author along the way.
Alexiadou, Artemis. 1997. Adverb Placement: a Case Study in Antisymmetric
Syntax. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Chomsky, Noam. 2000. "Minimalist Inquiries: the Framework." Step by Step
ed. by Roger Martin, David Michaels & Juan Uriagereka, 88-155. Cambridge,
Mass: The MIT Press
Chomsky, Noam. 2001. "Derivation by Phase." Ken Hale: a Life in Language,
ed. by Michael Kenstowicz, 1-52. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.
Cinque, Guglielmo. 1999. Adverbs and functional heads: A cross-linguistic
perspective. Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax. Oxford: Oxford
Hakulinen, Auli & Fred Karlsson. 1979. Nykysuomen lauseoppia. Helsinki:
Holmberg, Anders & Urpo Nikanne. 1993. Case and Other Functional
Categories in Finnish Syntax. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Holmberg, Anders & Urpo Nikanne. 1994. "Expletives and Subject Positions
in Finnish". NELS 24: Proceedings of the North East Linguistic Society,
Volume One, ed. by Merce Goncalez, 173 - 187. University of Massachusetts
Holmberg, Anders & Urpo Nikanne. 2002. "Expletives, Subjects and Topics
in Finnish". Subjects, Expletives and the EPP, ed. by Peter Svenonius,
71-106. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kayne, Richard. 1994. The Antisymmetry of Syntax. Cambridge, Mass: The
Kiparsky, Paul. 1998. "Partitive Case and Aspect". The Projection of
Arguments: Lexical and Compositional Factors, ed. by Miriam Butt &
Wilhelm Geuder, 265 - 308. Stanford: CSLI Publications.
Laenzlinger, Christopher. 1998. Comparative Studies in Word Order
Variation: Adverbs, Pronouns, and Clause Structure in Romance and
Germanic. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Larson, Richard. 1987. "Missing Prepositions and the Analysis of English
Free Relative Clauses". Linguistic Inquiry 16, 595-621.
Rizzi, Luigi. 1997. "Fine Structure of the Left Periphery". Elements of
Grammar, ed. by Liliane Haegeman, 281 - 337. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Starke, Michal. 2001. Move Dissolves into Merge: A Theory of Locality.
PhD Thesis, University of Geneva.
Thomas, Rose. 2003. The Partitive in Finnish and its Relation to the Weak
Quantifiers. PhD Thesis. University of Westminster.
Travis, Lisa. 1988. "The Syntax of Adverbs" McGill Working Papers in
Linguistics: Special Issue on Comparative Germanic Syntax
The reviewer would like to thank the people who provided her with valuable
help during her preparation of the review: Monika Basic, Kirsi Niemila,
Gillian Ramchand and Peter Svenonius.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Eugenia Romanova is writing her PhD dissertation at Tromso University.
Her main interests concern the syntax and semantics of Russian verbal
predicates and their relationship with the interpretation and
morphological realization (case, for example) of their direct objects.
She is also attracted to Uralic languages, especially Finnish, and the
verb-object interaction there.