Semantic Conditions on Surface Structure

R. Fiengo, 1974

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In this thesis, conditions are imposed on the occurrence of phonologically null elements at the level of surface structure.

Trace is defined as the phonologically null element left by movement rules.  It is argued that a single structural condition is imposed on both the relation between NP and trace and other rules of semantic interpretation.  The syntactic consequences of this condition are examined.  It is shown that certain transformations need not be marked as obligatory.  A particular theory of the Determiner is suggested.  A rule of semantic interpretation is formulated which interprets the relation between NP and trace in certain structures.  This rule is shown to have implications in a theory of surface semantics.

Delta is defined as the phonologically null element with syntactic and semantic features.  A rule of delta interpretation is formulated, which replaces deletion under identity in the theory assumed, and conditions on the interpretation of delta are formulated.

The syntax and semantics of Tense and Aspect are also considered.

Thesis Supervisor:         Noam Chomsky

Title:                             Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Linguistics


Table of Contents

Introduction                                                                                                      5

Chapter 1         The Logical Structure of Tense and Aspect                               7

Chapter 2         Semantic Conditions on NP-Binding                                         24

Chapter 3         A Structural Condition on Overrules                                          89

Chapter 4         Conditions on the Interpretation of Delta                                   110

Bibliography                                                                                                     132