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CAS LX 522 Syntax I. Week 10b. VP shells. Small clauses. Last time we talked about “small clauses” like: I find [Bill intolerable]. I consider [Bill incompetent]. I want [Bill off this ship]. (Immediately!)

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cas lx 522 syntax i

CAS LX 522Syntax I

Week 10b. VP shells

small clauses
Small clauses
  • Last time we talked about “small clauses” like:
  • I find [Bill intolerable].
  • I consider [Bill incompetent].
  • I want [Bill off this ship]. (Immediately!)
  • Let’s talk about a few more aspects of small clauses and infinitival complements that might make the discussion more convincing.
small clauses vs infinitival complements
Small clauses vs.infinitival complements
  • All of the small clause examples from last time seem to be able to be paraphrased as examples with infinitival (to be) complements as well.
  • I find [AP Bill intolerable].
  • I find [IP Bill to be intolerable].
  • So, we might wonder if small clauses are really just infinitival complements with a “silent” to be.
to be or not to be
To be or not to be
  • Suggestive against the idea that small clauses are really camouflaged IPs, it turns out that there’s a difference in meaning between the “small clauses” and “infinitival complements”.
    • I found the table to be three-legged.
    • I found the table three-legged.
    • I found him to be 6-feet tall.
    • I found him 6-feet tall.
    • I found her to be amused by cartoons.
    • I found her amused by cartoons.
to be or not to be1
To be or not to be
    • I found the chair comfortable.
    • I found the table three-legged.
  • The semantic distinction is very subtle, but it feels like I found DP AP means that the only evidence for DP being AP is a subjective judgment, not independently determinable. Still, there is a difference.
small clauses1
Small clauses
  • Also, not all small clauses are of this sort, though. Consider:
    • I saw [him fall].
    • I saw [them upset].
    • I saw [her in the garden].
  • There’s no to be missing in any of these.
small clauses2
Small clauses
  • So, I saw her in the garden would look like this.

IP

DPj

I

I

I

VP

[past]

DP

V

tj

PP

V

see

DP

P

her

DP

P

in

the garden

slide8
ECM

IP

DPj

I

Bill

  • Bill finds me to be intolerable.

I

VP

[pres]

DP

V

tj

IP

V

find

DPi

I

me

I

VP

to

AP

V

be

DP

A

ti

intolerable

slide9

IP

ECM

DPj

I

Bill

I

VP

  • Bill wants for me to eat cake.

[pres]

DP

V

tj

CP

V

want

IP

C

for

DPi

I

me

I

VP

to

DP

V

ti

DP

V

eat

cake

passives again
Passives again
  • Another thing that argues in favor of the “ECM” analysis of how embedded subjects of small clauses and infinitival subjects check Case features:
  • Recall how the active sentence Bill ate the sandwich relates to the passive sentence The sandwich was eaten.

IP

DP

I

Bill

I

VP

[past]

q

V

q

DP

eat

thesandwich

passives again1
Passives again
  • The sandwich was eaten.
  • In the passive, the verb has had its external q-role removed (and with it, the ability to check objective Case), so the Theme argument moves into SpecIP, satisfying the EPP (and checking Case).

IP

DPj

I

thesandwich

Vi+I

VP

was

V

VP

ti

q

V

DP

tj

eaten

and speaking of dolphins
And, speaking of dolphins…

IP

DPj

I

I

  • I consider them to be intelligent.
  • Consider assigns two q-roles, the external Experiencer q-role, and the internal Proposition q-role.
  • I checks Nom Case with the subject, consider checks Obj Case with them.

I

VP

[pres]

DP

V

tj

IP

V

consider

DPi

I

them

I

VP

to

AP

V

be

DP

A

intelligent

ti

and speaking of dolphins1
And, speaking of dolphins…

IP

DPj

I

they

  • They are considered to be intelligent.
  • Passivizing consider removes the external Experiencer q-role, and the ability to check Obj Case.

Vj+I

VP

are

VP

V

tj

IP

V

considered

DP

I

ti

I

VP

to

AP

V

be

DP

A

intelligent

ti

slide14

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giving trees to ditransitives
Giving trees to ditransitives
  • You may recall our discussion of q-theory, where we triumphantly classified verbs as coming in three types:
    • Intransitive (1 q-role)
    • Transitive (2 q-roles)
    • Ditransitive (3 q-roles)
  • Theta roles go to obligatory arguments, not to adjuncts.
giving trees to ditransitives1
Giving trees to ditransitives
  • You may also recall that we believe that trees are binary branching, where:
    • Syntactic objects are formed by Merge.
    • There’s just one complement and one specifier.
  • And our discovery that subjects should start out within the projection of their predicate, so that q-role assignment is strictly local (assigned to either a complement or a specifier).
giving trees to ditransitives2
Giving trees to ditransitives
  • Fantastic, except that these things just don’t fit together.
  • We know what to do with transitive verbs.
  • But what do we do with ditransitive verbs? We’re out of space!

VP

SUB

V

V

OBJ

problems continue
Problems continue…
  • I showed Mary to herself.
  • *I showed herself to Mary.
  • I introduced nobody to anybody.
  • *I introduced anybody to nobody.
  • This tells us something about the relationship between the direct and indirect object in the structure. (What?)
problems continue1
Problems continue…
  • The OBJ c-commands the PP. But how could we draw a tree like that?
  • Even if we allowed adjuncts to get q-roles, the most natural structure would be to make the PP an adjunct, like this, but that doesn’t meet the c-command requirements.

VP

*

SUB

V

PP

V

V

OBJ

some clues from idioms
Some clues from idioms
  • Often idiomatic meanings are associated with the verb+object complex—the meaning derives both from the verb and the object together.
  • We take this as due to the fact that the verb and object are sisters at DS.
    • Bill threw a baseball.
    • Bill threw his support behind the candidate.
    • Bill threw the boxing match.
idioms in ditransitives
Idioms in ditransitives
  • In ditransitives, it seems like this happens with the PP.
    • Beethoven gave the Fifth Symphony to the world.
    • Beethoven gave the Fifth Symphony to his patron.
    • Lasorda sent his starting pitcher to the showers.
    • Lasorda sent his starting pitcher to Amsterdam.
    • Mary took Felix to task.
    • Mary took Felix to the cleaners.
    • Mary took Felix to his doctor’s appointment.
so v and pp are sisters
So V and PP are sisters…
  • Larson (1988) took this as evidence that the V is a sister to the PP at DS.
  • Yet, we see that on the surface the OBJ comes between the verb and the PP.
    • Mary sent a letter to Bill.
  • Where is the OBJ?It must c-command the PP, remember.Why is the V to the left of the OBJ at SS?

V

V

PP

where s the v where s the obj
Where’s the V? Where’s the OBJ?
  • We already know how to deal with this kind of question if what we’re talking about is the verb coming before the subject in Irish, or the verb coming before adverbs in French…
  • The answer: The verb moves over the OBJ. But to where?

V

V

PP

where s the v where s the obj1
Where’s the V? Where’s the OBJ?
  • Larson’s answer to this is obvious, in retrospect. If we’re going to have binary branching and three positions for argument XPs (SUB, OBJ, PP), we need to have another XP above the VP.
  • Since the subject is in the specifier of the higher XP, that must be a VP too.
  • Ditransitive verbs really come in two parts. They are in a “VP shell” structure.

vP

SUB

v

VP

v

OBJ

V

V

PP

where s the v where s the obj2
Where’s the V? Where’s the OBJ?
  • The higher verb is a “light verb” (we’ll write it as vP to signify that)—its contribution is to assign the q-role to the subject. The lower verb assigns the q-roles to the OBJ and the PP.
  • Bill gave a book to Mary and a record to Sue.
  • Bill gavei [VP a book ti to Mary] and [VP a record ti to Sue].

vP

SUB

v

VP

v

OBJ

V

V

PP

sending a letter to bill
Sending a letter to Bill
  • So that covers Mary sent a letter to Bill, by saying there are two VPs, sendhead-moves from the lower one to the upper one, over the OBJ:
  • Mary senti a letter ti to Bill.
    • Note: You can also say Mary sent Bill a letter, which is one of the major things Larson was concerned about. Radford provides an analysis of this in the book, we’ll come back to it.
little v
little v…
  • So this is the structure that we came up with to get the word order right in a binary-branching tree.
    • John gave a book to Mary.
  • We determined there must be a “little v”, a light verb, to which the V moves. This little v assigns the Agent q-role. So English has a v in its lexicon that assigns the Agent q-role.

vP

SUB

v

VP

v

OBJ

V

V

PP

unaccusatives vs unergatives
Unaccusatives vs. unergatives
  • Recall from a week ago that there are two types of single-argument (intransitive) verbs in terms of their theta grid with respect to whether they have an external q-role to assign or not.
  • Unaccusatives: Have one, internalq-role.
    • (Sometimes called “ergative” too)
    • Fall, sink, break, close
  • Unergatives: Have one, externalq-role.
    • Walk, dance, laugh
last week s tree for bill fell
Last week’s tree for “Bill fell”

IP

DPi

I

IP

Bill

I

VP

I

VP

[past]

[past]

Finite I cancheck Case

V

q

ti

V

DP

fall

fall

Bill

UnaccusativeV cannotcheck Case

vp shells
VP shells
  • Let’s go back and consider VP shells a bit in connection with unaccusatives.
  • The ice melted.
  • The boat sank.
  • The door closed.
  • The ice, the boat, the doorare all Themes, suggesting that the verbs are unaccusative—the argument starts in object position.

VP

V

DP

melt

the ice

vp shells1
VP shells
  • So far, so good.
  • Now, Bill melted the ice.
  • The ice is still Theme. The verb is still melt.
  • Uniform Theta Assignment Hypothesis (UTAH):Two arguments which fulfill the same thematic function with respect to a given predicate must occupy the same underlying position in the syntax.
  • So the ice must still be a complement of the verb underlyingly.

VP

V

DP

melt

the ice

vp shells2
VP shells
  • In Bill melted the ice what have we done?
  • We’ve added a causer, an agent.
  • Bill caused [the ice to melt].
  • “Bill was the agent of an ice-melting.”
  • We’ve already supposed that the light verb v assigns the Agentq-role in ditransitives…
  • It isn’t much of a jump to think of v as actually having a contribution to the meaning, something like CAUSE.

VP

V

DP

melt

the ice

vp shells3
VP shells

vP

  • Bill melted the ice.
  • So, something like this, where the main verb moves up to the light verb (which we had evidence for in ditransitives).
    • Later, Bill will move to SpecIP, to check Case and satisfy the EPP.
    • Why does V move to v?We’ll assume that it does this for a reason analogous to why V moves to I (for French verbs, say). Might be universal, actually. “v needs a V to move to it”.

DP

v

Bill

v

VP

V

DP

melt

the ice

vp shells4
VP shells
  • Note. Even though v may carry a “causative” meaning, this does not mean that it is synonymous with the English word “cause”. There is a difference in the “directness” of the causal connection. What it really seems closest to is “Agent”.
  • The water boiled.
  • Bill boiled the water
    • Billi I tiv+boil the water
  • Bill caused the water to boil
    • Bill cause TP
avoiding redundancy
Avoiding redundancy
  • So, we have v, which assigns an Agent q-role.
  • We have Agent q-roles in clauses other than Bill sank the boatand Bill gave a boat to Edward.
  • We also have an Agent q-role in sentences like Bill ate the sandwich.
  • Are there two ways to assign the Agent q-role?
  • What if v is the way the Agent q-role is assigned?
  • What would Bill ate the sandwich look like?
bill ate the sandwich
Bill ate the sandwich

vP

  • Well, we already saw essentially what it would look like. It looks just like Bill melted the ice.
  • v assigns Agent to Bill, V (eat) assigns Theme to the sandwich.
  • Also note: The subject is still in “SpecVP” except that we’ve sharpened our picture of what “VP” is. A “VP” with an Agent is really a vP and a VP.

DP

v

Bill

v

VP

V

DP

eat

thesandwich

bill lied
Bill lied.

vP

  • In fact, things get weirder…
  • Consider Bill lied.
  • That’s got an Agent, so it’s got a v.
  • So, it could look like this.
  • But lie is really (also?) a noun, right? Is this a coincidence?
    • (How about Bill danced, Bill walked, Bill sneezed, …)

DP

v

Bill

v

VP

lie

bill lied1
Bill lied?

vP

  • One proposal out there about this kind of verb is that it really is built from the noun.
  • That is, we would have v+N, which would come out to mean something like ‘Bill was the agent of a lie.’
  • If that’s right, it means v really is its own thing, and moreover, it’s responsible for giving these verbs their verby nature.

DP

v

Bill

v

NP

lie

radford rolling the ball down the hill
Radford rolling theball down the hill
  • Radford introduces the idea of v with the sentences We rolled the ball down the hill and The ball rolled down the hill.
  • Roll is an unaccusative verb in The ball rolled. Like The ice melted or Bill fell.

IP

DPi

I

The ball

I

VP

[past]

V

ti

roll

radford rolling the ball down the hill1
Radford rolling theball down the hill
  • For The ball rolled down the hill, we need to add a PP, which Radford does this way.
  • The ball is still getting the only q-role that roll has.
  • But note that it is now in the specifier of VP.

IP

DPi

I

The ball

I

VP

[past]

DP

V

ti

V

PP

roll

downthe hill

radford rolling the ball down the hill2
Radford rolling theball down the hill
  • If we allow the ball to get the Theme q-role in the complement of V in The ball rolledand the specifier of VP in The ball rolled down the hill, then we have to think about about what UTAH is really supposed to mean.

IP

DPi

I

The ball

I

VP

[past]

DP

V

ti

V

PP

roll

downthe hill

radford rolling the ball down the hill3
Radford rolling theball down the hill
  • Let’s think of it this way:For a V that assigns a Theme q-role, the first DP Merged with it gets the Theme q-role.
  • The PP down the hill is Merged before the ball, but it isn’t a DP.

IP

DPi

I

The ball

I

VP

[past]

DP

V

ti

V

PP

roll

downthe hill

slide43
UTAH?
  • In fact, we also supposed that the Theme q-role was assigned to the specifier of VP in Bill gave a book to Mary.
  • The limited evidence we have so far seems to suggest that PP’s are Merged first if there is a PP to be Merged. (Notice too that in Bill gave a book to Mary, the PP is getting a q-role, but it is still Merged first)

vP

SUB

v

VP

v

OBJ

V

V

PP

slide44
UTAH…
  • Uniform Theta Assignment Hypothesis (UTAH):Two arguments which fulfill the same thematic function with respect to a given predicate must occupy the same underlying position in the syntax.
  • So, the “same underlying position in the syntax” is really to be understood as being the same from the perspective of Merge— e.g., the first DP Merged with the predicate.
giving mary a book
Giving Mary a book
  • In this connection, we might now be able to understand a little bit about Bill gave Mary a book.
  • Notice that here, there’s no PP, and the order of the arguments appears to be reversed. But maybe it still satisfies the UTAH with respect to the Theme q-role, since the Theme is still the first DP Merged with V.
    • (What to say about the Goal is less clear—not the first DP?)

vP

SUB

v

VP

v

IO

V

V

OBJ

slide46

 

 

 