Advertisement

Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 363–422 | Cite as

Word formation is syntactic: adjectival passives in English

  • Benjamin BrueningEmail author
Article

Abstract

Since Wasow (1977), the differences between adjectival and verbal passives in English have been taken to motivate a division between lexical and syntactic word-formation processes. This paper shows with data from corpora that many accepted facts about adjectival passives are incorrect: adjectival passives can be formed from ECM/raising verbs, and they can also involve a subset of indirect or applied objects. On the other hand, adjectival passives do differ from verbal passives in special meanings and missing inputs. This means that the phenomena that are supposed to characterize syntactic versus lexical processes do not all pattern together: ECM/raising points to a syntactic derivation of adjectival passives, but special interpretations and missing inputs point to a lexical derivation. This paper instead proposes a purely syntactic account of adjectival passives that explains all of the facts, both the similarities and the differences between adjectival and verbal passives. This syntactic analysis also permits a simple account of the alleged class of non-intersective adjectives, and the predictions it makes provides support for the theory of applied arguments advanced by Bruening (2010).

Keywords

Adjectival passives Lexicalism Lexical decomposition Applied arguments 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The bulk of this paper was written while the author was a Humboldt Fellow at the Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS) in Berlin. The author would like to thank the Humboldt Foundation and ZAS for their generous support, and, for helpful discussions and comments, Uli Sauerland, Artemis Alexiadou, Elena Anagnostopoulou, Florian Schäfer, Andrew McIntyre, the anonymous NLLT reviewers, and audiences at Stuttgart and Georgetown.

References

  1. Abney, Steven Paul. 1987. The English noun phrase in its sentential aspect. PhD diss, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Distributed by MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, Cambridge, Mass. Google Scholar
  2. Anagnostopoulou, Elena. 2003. Participles and voice. In Perfect explorations, eds. Artemis Alexiadou, Monika Rathert, and Arnim von Stechow, 1–36. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baltin, Mark R., and Paul M. Postal. 1996. More on reanalysis hypotheses. Linguistic Inquiry 27: 127–145. Google Scholar
  4. Beck, Sigrid, and Kyle Johnson. 2004. Double objects again. Linguistic Inquiry 35: 97–123. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Belletti, Adriana, and Luigi Rizzi. 1981. The syntax of ne: Some theoretical implications. The Linguistic Review 1: 117–154. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bhatt, Rajesh, and Roumyana Pancheva. 2006. Implicit arguments. In The Blackwell companion to syntax, eds. Martin Everaert and Henk van Riemsdijk, Vol. 2, 558–588. Oxford: Blackwell. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borer, Hagit, ed. 2005. Structuring sense: An exo-skeletal trilogy. New York: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
  8. Bresnan, Joan. 1982. The passive in lexical theory. In The mental representation of grammatical relations, ed. Joan Bresnan, 3–86. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  9. Bresnan, Joan. 1995. Lexicality and argument structure. Paper presented at the Paris Syntax and Semantics Conference. Google Scholar
  10. Bruening, Benjamin. 2001. QR obeys superiority: Frozen scope and ACD. Linguistic Inquiry 32: 233–273. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bruening, Benjamin. 2010. Ditransitive asymmetries and a theory of idiom formation. Linguistic Inquiry 41: 519–562. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bruening, Benjamin. 2012. By-phrases in passives and nominals. Syntax 16: 1–41. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chomsky, Noam. 1970. Remarks on nominalization. In Readings in English transformational grammar, eds. R. A. Jacobs and P. S. Rosenbaum, 184–221. Waltham: Ginn. Google Scholar
  14. Chomsky, Noam. 1981. Lectures on government and binding. Dordrecht: Foris. Google Scholar
  15. Chomsky, Noam. 2000. Minimalist inquiries: The framework. In Step by step: Essays on minimalist syntax in honor of Howard Lasnik, eds. Roger Martin, David Michaels, and Juan Uriagereka, 89–155. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  16. Dubinsky, Stanley, and Sylvester Ron Simango. 1996. Passive and stative in Chichewa: Evidence for modular distinctions in grammar. Language 72: 749–781. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Embick, David. 2004a. On the structure of resultative participles in English. Linguistic Inquiry 35: 355–392. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Embick, David. 2004b. Unaccusative syntax and verbal alternations. In The unaccusativity puzzle: Explorations of the syntax-lexicon interface, eds. Artemis Alexiadou, Elena Anagnostopoulou, and Martin Everaert, 137–158. Oxford: Oxford University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Emonds, Joseph E. 2000. Lexicon and grammar: The English syntacticon. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Google Scholar
  20. Emonds, Joseph E. 2006. Adjectival passives. In The Blackwell companion to syntax, eds. Martin Everaert and Henk van Riemsdijk, Vol. 1, 16–60. Oxford: Blackwell. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Emonds, Joseph E. 2007. Discovering syntax: Clause structures of English, German and Romance. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Google Scholar
  22. Fox, Danny. 1999. Reconstruction, binding theory and the interpretation of chains. Linguistic Inquiry 30: 157–196. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fox, Danny. 2002. Antecedent contained deletion and the copy theory of movement. Linguistic Inquiry 33: 63–96. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Freidin, Robert. 1975. The analysis of passives. Language 51: 384–405. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hale, Kenneth, and Samuel Jay Keyser. 1993. On argument structure and the lexical expression of syntactic relations. In The view from building 20: Essays in linguistics in honor of Sylvain Bromberger, eds. Kenneth Hale and Samuel Jay Keyser, 53–109. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  26. Hale, Kenneth, and Samuel Jay Keyser. 2002. Prolegomenon to a theory of argument structure. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  27. Hartman, Jeremy. 2012. (Non-)intervention in A-movement: Some cross-constructional and cross-linguistic considerations. Linguistic Variation 11: 121–148. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hornstein, Norbert, and Amy Weinberg. 1981. Case theory and preposition stranding. Linguistic Inquiry 12: 55–91. Google Scholar
  29. Horvath, Julia, and Tal Siloni. 2008. Active lexicon: Adjectival and verbal passives. In Current issues in generative Hebrew linguistics, eds. Sharon Armon-Lotem, Gabi Danon, and Susan Rothstein, 105–134. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Horvath, Julia, and Tal Siloni. 2009. Hebrew idioms: The organization of the lexical component. In Brill’s annual of Afroasiatic languages and linguistics, Vol. 1, 283–310. Leiden: Brill. Google Scholar
  31. Kayne, Richard. 1984. Unambiguous paths. In Connectedness and binary branching, 129–163. Dordrecht: Foris. Google Scholar
  32. Kayne, Richard S. 1989. Facets of Romance past participle agreement. In Dialect variation and the theory of grammar, ed. Paolo Benincà, 85–103. Dordrecht: Foris. Google Scholar
  33. Kratzer, Angelika. 1996. Severing the external argument from its verb. In Phrase structure and the lexicon, eds. John Rooryck and Laurie Zaring, 109–137. Dordrecht: Kluwer. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kratzer, Angelika. 2000. Building statives. In Proceedings of the twenty-sixth annual meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, eds. Lisa J. Conathan, Jeff Good, Darya Kavitskaya, Alyssa B. Wulf, and Alan C. L. Yu. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley Linguistics Society. Google Scholar
  35. Kratzer, Angelika. 2014. The event argument and the semantics of verbs. Cambridge: MIT Press. draft accessed 5/20/2009 at http://semanticsarchive.net/Archive/GU1NWM4Z/ (to appear). Google Scholar
  36. Landau, Idan. 2009. Saturation and reification in adjectival diathesis. Journal of Linguistics 45: 315–361. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lasnik, Howard, and Mamoru Saito. 1991. On the subject of infinitives. In Papers from the 27th regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, eds. Lise M. Dobrin, Lynn Nichols, and Rose M. Rodriguez. Chicago: University of Chicago. Google Scholar
  38. Levin, Beth, and Malka Rappaport. 1986. The formation of adjectival passives. Linguistic Inquiry 17: 623–661. Google Scholar
  39. Levin, Beth, and Malka Rappaport Hovav. 1995. Unaccusativity: At the syntax-lexical semantics interface. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  40. Lieber, Rochelle. 1980. On the organization of the lexicon. PhD diss, MIT. Distributed by MIT Working Papers in Linguistics. Google Scholar
  41. Lundquist, Björn. 2008. Nominalizations and participles in Swedish. PhD diss, University of Tromsø. Google Scholar
  42. Lundquist, Björn. 2012. The category of participles. Ms., available at http://ling.auf.net/lingBuzz/001545.
  43. Marantz, Alec. 1997. No escape from syntax: Don’t try morphological analysis in the privacy of your own lexicon. In Proceedings of the 21st annual Penn linguistics colloquium, eds. Alexis Dimitriadis, Laura Siegel, Clarissa Surek-Clark, and Alexander Williams. Penn working papers in linguistics. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania. Google Scholar
  44. Marantz, Alec. 2001. Words and things. Handout, MIT. Google Scholar
  45. Matushansky, Ora. 2002. Tipping the scales: The syntax of scalarity in the complement of Seem. Syntax 5: 219–276. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. McIntyre, Andrew. 2012. Adjectival passives and adjectival participles in English. In Non-canonical passives, eds. Artemis Alexiadou and Florian Schäfer. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Google Scholar
  47. Meltzer-Asscher, Aya. 2010a. Present participles: Categorial classification and derivation. Lingua 120: 2211–2239. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Meltzer-Asscher, Aya. 2010b. Adjectives and argument structure. PhD diss, Tel Aviv University. Google Scholar
  49. Meltzer-Asscher, Aya. 2011. Adjectival passives in Hebrew: Evidence for parallelism between the adjectival and verbal systems. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 29: 815–855. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Müller, Stefan. 2006. Phrasal or lexical constructions? Language 82: 850–883. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Noël, Dirk. 2002. Believe-type matrix verbs and their complements: Corpus-based investigations of their functions in discourse. http://lib.ugent.be/fulltxt/RUG01/000/472/594/RUG01-000472594_2010_0001_AC.pdf.
  52. Pesetsky, David. 1995. Zero syntax: Experiencers and cascades. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  53. Plag, Ingo. 1999. Morphological productivity: Structural constraints in English derivation. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Postal, Paul M. 1974. On raising: One rule of English grammar and its theoretical implications. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  55. Pylkkänen, Liina. 2008. Introducing arguments. Cambridge: MIT Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Ramchand, Gillian Catriona. 2008. Verb meaning and the lexicon: A first-phase syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rappaport Hovav, Malka, and Beth Levin. 2001. An event structure account of English resultatives. Language 77: 766–797. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Reinhart, Tanya, and Tal Siloni. 2005. The lexicon-syntax parameter: Reflexivization and other arity operations. Linguistic Inquiry 36: 389–436. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Richards, Norvin. 1997. What moves where when in which language. PhD diss, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Distributed by MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, Cambridge, Mass. Google Scholar
  60. Ruwet, Nicolas. 1991. On the use and abuse of idioms in syntactic argumentation. In Syntax and human experience, eds. Nicolas Ruwet and John A. Goldsmith, 171–251. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Google Scholar
  61. Schmerling, Susan F. 1978. Synonymy judgments as syntactic evidence. In Pragmatics, ed. Peter Cole. Vol. 9 of Syntax and semantics, 299–313. New York: Academic Press. Google Scholar
  62. Siloni, Tal. 2012. Reciprocal verbs and symmetry. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 30: 261–320. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Simpson, Jane. 1983. Resultatives. In Papers in lexical-functional grammar, eds. Lori Levin and Malka Rappaport, 143–157. Bloomington: Indiana University Linguistics Club. Google Scholar
  64. von Stechow, Arnim. 1995. Lexical decomposition in syntax. In Lexical knowledge in the organization of language, eds. Urs Egli, Peter E. Pause, Christoph Schwarze, Arnim von Stechow, and Götz Wienold, 81–117. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wasow, Thomas. 1977. Transformations and the lexicon. In Formal syntax, eds. P. Culicover, A. Akmajian, and T. Wasow, 327–360. New York: Academic Press. Google Scholar
  66. Wechsler, Stephen. 2005. Resultatives under the event-argument homomorphism model of telicity. In The syntax of aspect: Deriving thematic and aspectual interpretation, eds. Nomi Erteschik-Shir and Tova Rapoport, 255–273. Oxford: Oxford University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Williams, Edwin. 1987. Implicit arguments, the binding theory, and control. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 5: 151–180. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and Cognitive ScienceUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

Personalised recommendations