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Edge-Based Clausal Syntax

A Study of (Mostly) English Object Structure

Paul M. Postal

Publication Year: 2010

An argument that there are three kinds of English grammatical objects, each with different syntactic properties.

Published by: The MIT Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-x

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pp. xi-xiv

Chomsky (1965, 70) defines a direct object structurally as [NP, VP]. Similarly, in introductory linguistics courses, the direct object is simply defined as the DP sister of V. In this book, Postal argues conclusively that this simple picture cannot be right. ...

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pp. xv-xvi

When one initially examines some area of the syntax of a natural language, it often seems to manifest what might be called descriptive chaos. For instance, expressions that seem to have parallel meanings and standard syntactic structures nonetheless manifest contrastive syntactic behavior in a variety of ways. ...

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pp. xvii-xviii

The substance of this book owes a great deal to a number of people. In particular, it would be hard to exaggerate the influence of David Johnson. The basic architecture of the book represents a version of the ideas we developed jointly in the late 1970s and published as Johnson and Postal 1980. ...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-46

A framework for theorizing about the grammar of a natural language (NL) can be thought of as an abstract barrel containing linguistic concepts and principles applicable to formulating accounts of particular constructions. For example, the long-dominant barrel representing the various generative ...

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2. Objects and Arrays

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pp. 47-74

The English dictionary tradition assumes a binary subcategorization of verbs into transitive and intransitive. So Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language (1968) says that the verb star occurs in both subcategories, referring, I believe, to usages like (2.1a,b), and also says that the verb claim is exclusively transitive, …

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3. Double Object Structures

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pp. 75-140

I begin to address more directly the complex issue of double object (ditransitive) structures illustrated by (3.1a) and (3.2a) and the common (though not invariably possible) alternations of the first object with prepositionally marked ones, as in (3.1b) and (3.2b). ...

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4. Periphrastic and Nonperiphrastic Passives

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pp. 141-196

In previous chapters, I have argued for a three-way division among English objects, distinguishing 2 objects, 3 objects, and 4 objects, each of which can occur as a single object; and I have claimed that ditransitive clauses manifest a surface 3 object and 4 object, in that order, ...

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5. Passivization Targets: I

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pp. 197-230

This chapter focuses on the issue of what active clause DPs can ‘‘feed’’ the existence of passive clauses, more precisely, what active clause DPs can correspond to the final 1s of grammatical periphrastic passive (and middle) clauses. It might seem that via condition (4.62), the question for middles has already been answered. ...

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6. Passivization Targets: II

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pp. 231-264

Condition (5.39) determines that it is theoretically impossible for an English 2 arc cooccurring with a final 3 arc to be a prepassive arc of either type. The theoretical consequence that English ditransitive clauses cannot, under present assumptions, have periphrastic 2 object passive or middle correspondents is highly desirable ...

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7. Passivization Targets: III

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pp. 265-296

Even taking these conclusions as established, however, provides only the beginning of an account of English passives. Here, I focus on a more refined characterization of English periphrastic passivization targets, seeking to explain restrictions unaccounted for by previous assumptions, specifically, those in (7.1). ...

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8. Visser’s Generalization

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pp. 297-356

As understood in past literature, Visser’s Generalization (VG), stated informally, expresses a relation between (1) control by the 1 (in some sense) of a main clause C of the final 1 of a complement clause of C and (2) passivization in C. It states that these two phenomena are incompatible (see, e.g., Bach 1979; Bresnan 1978, 1982a, 354; ...

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9. Clauses with That Clause Complements

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pp. 357-388

This chapter focuses on the analysis of various clauses having that clause complements, especially those containing as well what seem to be 3 objects. The goal is to show that the ideas already introduced provide explanatory bases or at least effective descriptive possibilities for various puzzling restrictions. ...

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10. Results, If Any

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pp. 389-390

The previous nine chapters of this work are too long and complex and deal with too many issues and assumptions to permit any reasonably complete summary of what may have been achieved. Suffice it to say that I have sought both to outline a general theoretic framework in which an NL grammar is a nongenerative, model-theoretic system ...


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pp. 391-430


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pp. 431-452

Author Index

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pp. 453-456

Subject Index

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pp. 457-465

E-ISBN-13: 9780262295482
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262512756

Page Count: 488
Publication Year: 2010