LINGUIST List 25.1089

Tue Mar 04 2014

Diss: Germanic, Semantics, Syntax: Ioannidou: 'The Syntax of Non-verbal Causation ...'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <>

Date: 02-Mar-2014
From: Alexandra Ioannidou <>
Subject: The Syntax of Non-verbal Causation: The causative apomorphy of 'from' in Greek and Germanic languages
E-mail this message to a friend

Institution: CUNY Graduate Center
Program: Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Alexandra Ioannidou

Dissertation Title: The Syntax of Non-verbal Causation: The causative apomorphy of 'from' in Greek and Germanic languages

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics
Language Family(ies): Germanic

Dissertation Director:
Marcel den Dikken
Thomas Leu
Christina Tortora
William McClure

Dissertation Abstract:

This is a study of the meaning and syntax of non-(lexical)verbal causation.
Macroscopically, it examines the preposition 'from' as attested in contexts
like 'X is/comes from Y'. Syntactic diagnostics are applied to formally
distinguish the causative from the spatial interpretations of 'from'-PPs in
Greek, English, Dutch, and German. The syntactic landscape of causative
'from' will turn out to be very minimal with 'from' directly selecting the
Cause-DP, in contradistinction to its spatial counterpart, where 'from'
always selects for another PP layer. More microscopically then I focus on
the causative interpretations only, which are particularly revealing
because (i) they give an in-depth view of CAUSE, stripped of all verbal
layers⎯traditionally considered the locus of CAUSE⎯suggesting that the
source of causation in non-(lexical)verbal environments has to be the
preposition per se and (ii) they single-handedly provide a rudimentary
structure for causation, where 'from' introduces the Cause in its
complement and is predicated of the Causee. Finally, with a basic
predicational structure in place, I offer a detailed cross-linguistic
account for the syntactic mechanism that forces the use of particle verbs
in causative 'from'-less environments.

Page Updated: 04-Mar-2014