LINGUIST List 25.3344

Sat Aug 23 2014

Diss: Germanic, English; Semantics, Syntax: Larsen: 'Particles and Particle-verb Constructions in English and Other Germanic Languages'

Editor for this issue: Danuta Allen <danutalinguistlist.org>


Date: 22-Aug-2014
From: Darrell Larsen <>
Subject: Particles and Particle-verb Constructions in English and Other Germanic Languages
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Institution: University of Delaware
Program: Department of Linguistics & Cognitive Science
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2014

Author: Darrell Larsen

Dissertation Title: Particles and Particle-verb Constructions in English and Other Germanic Languages

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics
                            Syntax

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
Language Family(ies): Germanic

Dissertation Director:
Benjamin Bruening
Peter Cole
Marcel den Dikken
Jeffrey Heinz

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation examines the lexical semantics of particles and the syntax of particles and
particle-verb constructions. I argue against the notion that there are distinct types of particles (e.g.
resultative versus idiomatic versus aspectual), claiming instead that they are semantic predicates
consisting of an often metaphorical spatial meaning and, with a few exceptions, an unpronounced
Ground argument. As a result, particle verbs are argued to be semantically compositional. The
syntactic behavior of particle verbs is primarily explained through the adoption of the following
major claims: (i) particles are optionally projecting syntactic heads whose topmost projection
merges with a verbal head to form either a complex head or a resultative-like structure; (ii)
nonprojecting particles (which combine with verbs to form complex heads) remain in situ, the verb
raising out of the complex via phonological head movement; and (iii) objects raise to receive Case
by LF, but they may do so overtly or covertly. These claims are shown to account for the behavior
of the particle-verb construction when interacting with a wide range of other phenomena. The
adoption of a further claim---(iv) ECM subjects of small-clauses preferably or obligatorily
(depending on the speaker) raise out of the small clause overtly, whereas ECM subjects of IPs
need not---is then shown to be able to explain the pattern of grammaticality and acceptability
judgments encountered in the so-called ‘complex’ particle-verb constructions. Finally, the ability of
particle verbs to undergo various word-formation processes is considered within the context of
these theoretical assumptions.



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