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On the Offensive

By Karen Stollznow

On the Offensive " This book sheds light on the derogatory phrases, insults, slurs, stereotypes, tropes and more that make up linguistic discrimination. Each chapter addresses a different area of prejudice: race and ethnicity; gender identity; sexuality; religion; health and disability; physical appearance; and age."



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Dissertation Information


Title: Telicity and the Syntax-Semantics of the Object and Subject Add Dissertation
Author: Miren Hodgson Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Completed in: 2006
Linguistic Subfield(s): Semantics; Syntax; Language Acquisition;
Subject Language(s): English
Spanish
Director(s): Thomas Roeper
Peggy Speas

Abstract: This dissertation presents a study on the acquisition of telicity by
Spanish and English native speakers. In addition to the study of
acquisition, it investigates the syntactic and semantic properties of
locatum constructions (e.g., the water filled the bucket), which are
sentences that contain two internal arguments and whose subject is
non-agentive. This dissertation explores the syntactic and semantic
properties of elements of the verb phrase that had not been previously
considered in the interpretation of telicity, such as the role of
non-agentive subjects and the type of movement that takes place in the
checking of the verb’s telic features.

Contrary to the assumption that only the direct internal argument of the
verb can delimit an event, I argue that objects generated in the lower verb
phrase, by virtue of being an internal argument of the verb can delimit an
event. An object delimits an event by checking the verb’s telic features
in spec-AspP, either by covert or overt movement. If a predicate contains
one internal argument (e.g., the boy filled the bucket) the checking of the
verb’s telic features takes place via covert movement. That is, only the
NPs specific quantification features move covertly to check the verb’s
telic features in spec-AspP. However, if the predicate contains two
internal arguments (e.g., fill the bucket with water), the surfaced subject
(e.g., the water filled the bucket) by virtue of being an internal argument
of the verb, checks the verb’s telic features as the category and its
features move overtly to subject position.

The study shows that young children understand telicity when the verb’s
telic features are checked via overt movement, but have difficulties
understanding telicity when the verb’s telic features are checked via
covert movement. I propose that predicates whose telicity involves overt
movement should be acquired earlier than predicates whose telicity involves
covert movement because overt movement is an operation that happens between
D-structure and S-structure before the sentence is pronounced. Predicates
whose telicity involves covert movement might be acquired at a later age of
development because covert movement happens between S-structure and LF
after the sentence is pronounced.