Argument structure and transitivity alternation

A now widely held position in generative grammar is that a verb’s lexical entry registers some kind of semantically anchored argument structure, which in turn determines the syntactic projection of its arguments. It is believed that the phenomena falling under the label transitivity alternations pose a challenge to the projectionist theory. The thesis presents a discussion of transitivity alternation on the basis of argument structure. The specific types of verbal transitivity alternation under primary consideration are (i) passive alternation, (ii) decausative alternation, (iii) middle alternation, and (iv) unergative-causative alternation. These alternations are characterized by pairs of sentences with the same verb with both transitive and intransitive uses. The main assumption underlying this study is that there is only one basic lexicon entry for each verbal concept and the different forms of the same entry are the outcome of thematic arity operations on argument structure. Passives are derived from corresponding transitive variants by detransitivization…


Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 The Semantics-Syntax Interface
2.1 The Structure of the Grammar
2.1.1 Universal Grammar
2.1.2 The Government and Binding model
2.1.3 The Minimalist Program model
2.2 Argument Structure
2.2.1 Predicates and arguments
2.2.2 Thematic roles
2.2.3 Types of arguments
2.2.4 Theta grids and Theta Criterion
2.2.5 Argument structure in linguistic theorizing
2.3 The Mapping from Lexical Semantics to Syntax
2.3.1 Syntactic relations
2.3.2 Two basic approaches
2.3.3 The Projection of arguments
2.3.4 Thematic hierarchy
2.3.5 Uniformity of Theta Assignment Hypothesis
2.3.6 Absolute linking rules
Chapter 3 Detransitivization in Passive Constructions
3.1 Introduction
3.2 The Standard Theory for Passivization
3.2.1 Basic properties of the English be-passive
3.2.2 Dethematization
3.2.3 Case absorption
3.2.4 Summary
3.3 Passivization in Mandarin Chinese
3.3.1 The syntactic properties of the bei-passive
3.3.2 Categorial status of bei
3.3.3 Passive morpheme bei and theta-role assignment
3.3.4 Passive morpheme bei and Case assignment
3.4 A Unified Account of Chinese Passives
3.4.1 The topic status of the preverbal possessor NP
3.4.2 Passive retained object NPs as extraposed subject
3.4.3 Summary
3.5 Concluding Remarks
Chapter 4 Detransitivization in the Decausative Constructions
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Decausative Verb and Decausative Construction
4.3 The Term of ‘Ergative’
4.3.1 Ergativity versus accusativity
4.3.2 An extended use of ‘ergative’
4.3.3 Ergative and unaccusative verbs
4.4 An Unaccusative Analysis of Decausative Constructions
4.4.1 Unergative and unaccusative
4.4.2 Decausatives as derived unaccusatives
4.4.3 Constraints on deriving decausatives
4.5 Decausatives versus Passive
4.6 Unaccusative Constructions in Mandarin Chinese
4.6.1 Some properties of constructions with unaccusative verbs
4.6.2 More on the Unaccusative Hypothesis
4.6.3 Against the Partitive Case Proposal
4.6.4 A unified account of Chinese retained object constructions
4.6.5 Summary
Chapter 5 Detransitivization in Middle Constructions
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Defining Properties of English Middles
5.2.1 Stativity
5.2.2 Modality
5.2.3 Adverbial effect
5.2.4 Implicit arguments
5.3 Constraints on Middle Formation
5.3.1 Properties of the verb
5.3.2 Properties of the grammatical subject
5.3.3 Properties of the logical subject
5.4 Review of Some Previous Studies on English Middles
5.4.1 The syntactic approach Keyser & Roeper’s account Stroik’s account Hoekstra & Roberts’s account
5.4.2 The lexical approach Fagan’s account Achema & Schoorlemmer’s account
5.4.3 Problems with the available analyses Difficulties for the syntactic approach Difficulties for the lexical approach
5.5 An Alternative Account
5.5.1 Middle formation as a process of stativization
5.5.2 Some empirical consequences
5.5.3 Summary
5.6 The Syntax and Semantics of Chinese Middles
Chapter 6 The Formation of Causatives
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Three Ways of Expressing Causation
6.3 The Semantics of Causative Constructions
6.4 The Derivation of Causatives
6.4.1 Analytical causatives
6.4.2 Morphological causatives
6.4.3 Lexical causatives
6.4.4 Unergative causatives
6.5 A Syntactic Account of Unergative Causatives
6.5.1 Against a lexical analysi
6.5.2 Light verb
6.5.3 Syntactic mechanism
6.5.4 Summary
6.6 Causatives in Mandarin Chinese
6.6.1 Periphrastic causatives
6.6.2 Single-verb causatives
6.7 Conclusion
Chapter 7 General Conclusions

Author: Han, Jingquan

Source: City University of Hong Kong

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