Case Theory and the Projection Principle

D. Massam, 1985

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We examine structures in which an NP bears a grammatical relation to a verb, to which it bears no thematic relation.  We see several semantic classes of verbs appearing in such constructions, and a number of different types of such constructions, but no systematic relation between the semantic class of the verb and the syntactic type of construction in which it appears.

To explain mapping between thematic structure and grammatical structure, we assume the Projection Principle (PP), which states that syntactic structure must reflect lexical properties (thematic structure/predicate"subject relations) at all levels.  The PP appears to be violated by structures with non-thematic "objects" coreferential with an embedded subject, object, or oblique NP (=NP-th).  We examine data showing that although the NP acts as an object, it is not outside of the clause containing NP-th.  It is in an embedded initial A-bar position, acting as a predicate subject for the constituent containing NP-th.  It acts as an object of the matrix clause due to government holding between a verb and complement and certain elements in the complement.

A second aspect of a theory of grammar is licensing of NPs for interpretation.  Elements in A-positions are licensed by Case, an abstract relation holding between arguments and governors.  Given A-bar subject positions, the domain of Case requirement is not A-positions, but rahter, all positions governed by the PP: subjects and complements.  Projection and Case are intertwined facets of interpretability.

In Chapter 1 we introduce the domain of exploration.  In Chapter 2 we consider "raising to object" constructions.  Certain English, Hindi, Icelandic verbs effect sentential Exceptional Case Marking (=S/ECM) by subcategorization for "INFL-phrase", with government and Case to the specifier.  In Romance, different ECM structures arise with verbs selecting for a Case assigning head.  Hungarian structures support our claims.  "Non-vacuous" ECM in Blackfoot, Fijian, James Bay Cree, Kipsigas, Moroccan Arabic, Niuean, Standard Arabic, argues for embedded A-bar subjects.

In Chapter 3 we look at non-thematic subjects (NTS).  An NP may come to act as a NTS in one of three ways.  Raising to subject is examined in English.  Kipsigas, and James Bay Cree NTS structures involve operator movement, as does "tough movement" in many languages.  We thus divide the theta-criterion into two parts, one holding at all levels and one at LF, and introduce a licensing device of composed theta chains.  Niuean and Standard Arabic show that NTS structures arise under non-Case assigning verbs which allow A-bar subjects.  Passive ECM verbs in these languages are identical to Raising and Subject verbs, as they are, in a different way, in English.

In Chapter 4, NP complements in Chickasaw, Hungarian, Romanian, Kinyarwanda, Turkish substantiates our claims, as verbs ECM the A or A-bar possessor subjects of NPs, (=NP/ECM).  The distribution of NP/ECM across languages argues that Cases exist independently of Case assignment, since NP/ECM requires the existence of an extra Case, as predicted by the Case Filter.  NP/ECM allows for direct argument possessors, or indirect argument possessors.  We predict that NP/ECM occurs only into object NPs.  Several apparent exceptions actually support our claims.

In Chapter 5 case and chain theory is presented (Levin & Massam, 1984), accounting for expletive distribution, Case/argument structure relations of Burzio"s (1981) Generalization, and the Nom/Acc, Erg/Abs parameter.  The theory is revised to embrace data of this study, and we define Case requirements in terms of the Projection Principle.

We close with a typology which emerges from our study.

Thesis Supervisor:         Noam Chomsky

Title:                             Institute Professor

Table of Contents

Chapter 1         Introduction                                                                                          14

            1.1       Overview                                                                                             14

            1.2       Crucial notions                                                                          20

            1.3       Outline                                                                                                 25

                        1.3.1    Chapter 2                                                                                 26

                        1.3.2    Chapter 3                                                                                 28

                        1.3.3    Chapter 4                                                                                 30

                        1.3.4    Chapter 5                                                                                 33

Chapter 2         Exceptional Case marking: a case of Case to Specifiers             34

            2.1       Introduction                                                                                          34

                        2.1.1    Overview of Chapter 2                                                 34

                        2.1.2    Organization of Chapter 2                                                         38

            2.2       ECM with IP subcategorization                                                 41

                        2.2.1    English data                                                                              41

                        2.2.2    ECM analysis                                                                           42

                        2.2.3    Case assignment to Spec: English                                              46

                           The prediction                                                              46

                           Case resistance: tensed clauses                         48

                           Case resistance: infinitival clauses                                  50

                           Non case resistance: wh-clauses                                   51

                           Case assignment to traces in SPEC                               57

                           Conclusion                                                                   60

                        2.2.4    Other cases of IP-ECM                                                            60

                           Hindi ECM                                                                   60

                           Icelandic ECM                                                 66

            2.3       Case assignment to SPEC: Hungarian                                        68

            2.4       Case assignment to specifier of IP: Romance                                         71

                        2.4.1    Italian and French ECM                                                            71

                        2.4.2    Italian and Portuguese aux fronting                                            74

                        2.4.3    The proposal                                                                            79

                        2.4.4    Interaction with operators                                                         83

                        2.4.5    Conclusion                                                                               86

            2.5       Non string-vacuous ECM                                                                     87

                        2.5.1    Introduction                                                                              87

                        2.5.2    Fijian and Niuean data                                                  89

                           General data                                                                 89

                           ECM data                                                                    92

                        2.5.3    ECM: the analysis                                                                     99

                           The structure                                                                99

                           A note on Niuean word order                                       100

                        2.5.4    Objections to direct raising to object                                         102

                           Raising to object vs ECM                                             102

                           Case and chain theory                                                   103

                           Binding theory                                                  107

                        2.5.5    ECM movement vs topicalization and left dislocation     115

                           A-bar/A relations                                                          115

                           Topicalization and ECM movement                               119

                           Left dislocation and ECM movement                             123

                        2.5.6    ECM relations                                                                          132

                           French "avoir" constructions                                         133

                           The SPEC2/Theta-NP relation                          135

                           Extraposition of CP in Fijian                                          145

                           ECM analysis: conclusion                                              146

                        2.5.7    Objections to indirect raising to object                           150

                           The two-step analysis                                                   150

                           Kipsigas data                                                                151

                        2.5.8    Objections to "Prolepsis"                                                          158

                           Introduction                                                                  158

                           Higgins (1981) for Prolepsis                                          160

                           Gordon (1980), Seiter (1980) against Prolepsis 169

                           Non-prolepsis in Moroccan Arabic                               173

                           "Verb-of-NP-that-S" in English                                    180

Chapter 3         Non thematic subjects                                                                           186

            3.1       Introduction                                                                                          186

            3.2       Non-thematic subjects via raising                                                          187

            3.3       Non-thematic subjects via tough movement                                           190

                        3.3.1    Kipsigas non-thematic subjects                                     190

                        3.3.2    English tough movement                                                            199

                        3.3.3    Kipsigas non-thematic subjects via tough movement                  212

            3.4       Non-thematic subjects via ECM movement                                           213

                        3.4.1    Niuean movement to subject                                                     213

                        3.4.2    Analysis and implications                                                           221

                        3.4.3    Conclusion                                                                               234

Chapter 4         "Possessor raising": ECM into NPs                                                       236

            4.1       Introduction                                                                                          236

                        4.1.1    Overview of Chapter 4                                                 236

                        4.1.2    Organization of Chapter 4                                                         242

            4.2       NP/ECM: the possessor as direct verbal argument                                243

                        4.2.1    Kinyarwanda data                                                                    244

                           The verb phrase                                                            244

                           The noun phrase                                                           250

                        4.2.2    Inherent and structural case and the uniformity condition            255

                        4.2.3    Kinyarwanda case marking and the uniformity condition 259

                           Inherent and structural case in Kinyarwanda                  259

                           Kinyarwanda genitive case and the uniformity

                                                condition                                                                      269

                        4.2.4    NP/ECM with double case marking                                          271

                           Tzotzil NP/ECM                                                           271

                           Constituency in Tzotzil                                      275

                           Problems of double case marking                                  279

            4.3       NP/ECM to specifiers of subjects                                                         282

                        4.3.1    Introduction                                                                              282

                        4.3.2    Chickasaw NP/ECM: the data                                      284

                        4.3.3    The ergativity of Chickasaw NP/ECM                          290

                        4.3.4    Multiple NP/ECM in Chickasaw                                               294

                           NP/ECM structures                                                      294

                           Case assignment as linking                                            298

                           Conclusion so far                                                          301

                        4.3.5    Chickasaw NP/ECM and the projection principle                      304

            4.4       NP/ECM: the possessor as indirect verbal argument                              310

                        4.4.1    Hungarian NP/ECM                                                                 310

                           Szabolcsi (1981, 1983)                                                310

                           Problems                                                                      317

                           Revisions                                                                      319

                           The structure of Hungarian NPs                                    319

                           Case uniqueness                                                           324

                        4.4.2    Other languages                                                                        328

                           Romanian                                                                     328

                           Chickasaw and Choctaw (objects)                                331

            4.5       Inalienable NP/ECM                                                                            336

                        4.5.1    Introduction                                                                              336

                        4.5.2    Inalienables as datives: Kinyarwanda                                         337

                           Kinyarwanda inalienable NP/ECM                                337

                           Dative case NP/ECM                                                   341

                        4.5.3    Korean "take-away" verbs                                                        342

                        4.5.4    Some questions                                                                        345

                        4.5.5    Turkish S/NP//ECM and inalienable possession             350

                           Turkish ECM                                                               350

                           Speculations                                                                 354

Chapter 5         Case theory                                                                                          356

            5.1       Introduction                                                                                          356

            5.2       Levin and Massam (1984)                                                                    356

                        5.2.1    The Nom/Acc//Erg/Abs parameter                                            357

                        5.2.2    Case theory                                                                              358

                        5.2.3    Burzio"s Generalization                                                 364

            5.3       Case theory and the projection principle                                                371

                        5.3.1    The problem                                                                             371

                        5.3.2    Revised case theory                                                                  373

Conclusion       Typology                                                                                              380

            1          Introduction                                                                                          380

            2          A typology                                                                                           382

Appendix I:  Gloss glossary                                                                                           386