Skip to main content

The realization of external arguments in nominalizations

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss the restriction on the realization of non-agentive causers in nominalizations (see Adultery separated Jim and Mary. vs. ??the separation/*the separating of Jim and Mary by adultery). By comparing English to German and Romanian, we show that this restriction may have two sources: the event complexity of the nominalization or the lexical semantics of the preposition that introduces the external argument. First, the realization of non-agentive causers requires the presence of a result state component that is absent in German nominal infinitives and English ing-of gerunds. This leads to the inability of these nominalizations to host non-agentive external arguments. Second, the prepositions that introduce external arguments have a restricted distribution in Romanian and English nominalizations with the effect that the restriction appears in all Romanian nominalizations and in English derived nominals. The corresponding preposition in German is unrestricted, which explains why -ung nominals, which project a result state component, can realize non-agentive external arguments.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Abney, S. 1987. The English noun phrase in its sentential aspect. Ph. D. dissertation, MIT.

  • Alexiadou, A. 2001. Functional structure in nominals: Nominalization and ergativity. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Alexiadou, A, G. Iordăchioaia, F. Martin, F. Schäfer, and M. Cano. 2013. Direct participation and agent exclusivity effects in derived nominals and beyond. In Categorization and category change, eds. G. Iordăchioaia, I. Roy, and K. Takamine. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

  • Alexiadou, A., and E. Doron. 2012. The syntactic construction of two non-active Voices: passive and middle. Journal of Linguistics 48: 1–34.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alexiadou, A., and F. Schäfer. 2006. Instrument subjects are agents or causers. Proceedings of WCCFL 25: 40–48.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alexiadou, A., E. Anagnostopoulou, and F. Schäfer. 2006. The properties of anticausatives cross-linguistically. In Phases of interpretation, ed. M. Frascarelli, 187–212. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Alexiadou, A., E. Anagnostopoulou, and F. Schäfer. 2009. PP licensing in nominalizations. Proceedings of NELS 38: 39–52.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alexiadou, A., G. Iordăchioaia, and E. Soare. 2010. Number/Aspect interactions in the syntax of nominalizations: A Distributed Morphology approach. Journal of Linguistics 46: 537–574.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alexiadou, A., G. Iordăchioaia, and F. Schäfer. 2011. Scaling the variation in Romance and Germanic nominalizations. In The noun phrase in Romance and Germanic, ed. P. Sleeman and H. Peridon, 25–40. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Google Scholar 

  • Borer, H. 2005. Structuring sense: the normal course of events. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Borer, H. 2013. Structuring sense: taking form. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Borsley, R., and J. Kornfilt. 2000. Mixed extended projections. In The nature and function of syntactic categories, ed. R. Borsley, 101–131. New York: Academic.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Broekhuis, H., E. Keizer, and M. den Dikken. 2013. Syntax of Dutch: nouns and noun phrases. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cornilescu, A. 2001. Romanian nominalizations: Case and aspectual structure. Journal of Linguistics 37: 467–501.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Doron, E. 2003. Agency and voice: the semantics of the Semitic templates. Natural Language Semantics 11: 1–67.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dowty, D. 1979. Word meaning and Montague grammar. Dordrecht: Reidel.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Ehrich, V. 2002. On the verbal nature of certain nominal entities. In More than words. A Festschrift for Dieter Wunderlich, ed. I. Kaufmann and B. Stiebels, 69–89. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  • Embick, D. 2010. Localism vs. globalism in morphology and phonology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Folli, R., and H. Harley. 2005. Flavours of v: Consuming results in Italian and English. In Aspectual Enquiries, ed. P. Kempchinsky and R. Slabakova, 95–120. Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Folli, R., and H. Harley. 2008. Teleology and animacy in external arguments. Lingua 118: 190–202.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fox, D., and Y. Grodzinsky. 1998. Children’s passive: A view from the by-phrase. Linguistic Inquiry 29: 311–332.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grimshaw, J. 1990. Argument structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Harley, H. 2011. An alternative to deficiency approaches to the manner-alternation parameter. Paper presented at Workshop on verbal elasticity, Barcelona, Oct. 2011.

  • Harley, H., and R. Noyer. 1998. Mixed nominalizations, object shift and short verb movement in English. Proceedings of NELS 28: 143–157.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harley, H., and R. Noyer. 2000. Licensing in the non-lexicalist lexicon. In The Lexicon/Encyclopedia interface, ed. B. Peeters, 349–374. Amsterdam: Elsevier Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Iordăchioaia, G. 2008. External argument PPs in Romanian nominalizations. Working Papers of the SFB 732(1): 71–84.

    Google Scholar 

  • Iordăchioaia, G., and E. Soare. 2009. Structural patterns blocking plural in Romance nominalizations. In Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory: Selected papers from ‘Going Romance’ Amsterdam 2007, ed. E. Aboh, E. van der Linden, J. Quer, and P. Sleeman, 145–160. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jackendoff, R. 1991. Parts and boundaries. Cognition 41: 9–45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kratzer, A. 1996. Severing the external argument from its verb. In Phrase structure and the lexicon, ed. J. Rooryck and L. Zaring, 109–137. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Kratzer, A. 2000. Building statives. Proceedings of BLS 26: 385–399.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kratzer, A. 2003. The event argument and the semantics of Voice. Ms. University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

  • Krifka, M. 1998. The origins of telicity. In Events and grammar, ed. S. Rothstein, 197–235. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Landau, I. 2010. The locative syntax of experiencers. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Lehmann, C. 1984. Der Relativsatz. Tübingen: Narr.

    Google Scholar 

  • Levin, B. 1993. English verb classes and the lexicon. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Levin, B., and M. Rappaport Hovav. 1999. Two structures for compositionally derived events. Proceedings of SALT 9: 199–223.

    Google Scholar 

  • Marantz, A. 1997. No escape from syntax: Don’t try morphological analysis in the privacy of your own lexicon. In University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 4.2: 201-225.

  • Marantz, A. 2009. Roots, re- and affected agents: can roots pull the agent under little v? Paper presented at the workshop Roots I, University of Stuttgart, June 2009.

  • McIntyre, A. 2013. Adjectival passives and adjectival participles in English. In Non-canonical passives, ed. A. Alexiadou and F. Schäfer, 21–42. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pesetsky, D. 1995. Zero syntax: Experiencers and cascades. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Piñón, C. 2000. Happening gradually. In Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: 445–456.

  • Ramchand, G. 2008. Verb meaning and the lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Rappaport Hovav, Malka. In press. Building scalar changes. In The syntax of roots and the roots of syntax,eds. Artemis Alexiadou, Hagit Borer and Florian Schäfer. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Rappaport Hovav, M., and B. Levin. 2012. Lexicon uniformity and the causative alternation. In The theta system: Argument structure at the interface, ed. M. Everaert, M. Marelj, and T. Siloni, 150–176. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Roßdeutscher, A., and H. Kamp. 2010. Syntactic and semantic constraints in the formation and interpretation of ung-Nouns. In The semantics of nominalizations across languages and frameworks, ed. A. Alexiadou and M. Rathert, 169–214. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Rothmayr, A. 2009. The structure of stative verbs. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Schäfer, F. 2012. Two types of external argument licensing: the case of causers. Studia Linguistica 66: 1–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sichel, I. 2010. Event structure constraints in nominalization. In The syntax of nominalizations across languages and frameworks, ed. A. Alexiadou and M. Rathert, 151–190. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sichel, I. 2011. Nominalization, causativization, and category-free syntax. Paper presented at the workshop Roots III, Jerusalem, June 2011.

  • Solstad, T. 2009. On the implicitness of arguments in event passives. Proceedings of NELS 38: 365–374.

    Google Scholar 

  • van Hout, A., and T. Roeper. 1998. Events and aspectual structure in derivational morphology. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 32: 175–220.

    Google Scholar 

  • von Stechow, A. 1996. The different readings of wieder “again”: A structural account. Journal of Semantics 13: 87–138.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wechsler, S. 1990. Accomplishments and the prefix re-. In Proceedings of NELS 20: 419–434.

  • Wolff, P. 2003. Direct causation in the linguistic coding and individuation of causal events. Cognition 88: 1–48.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yamaguchi, T. 1998. Lexical semantic analysis of causative/inchoative alternation in Japanese: a preliminary investigation of subclasses of verbs. Essex graduate students papers in Linguistics II.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Artemis Alexiadou.

Appendix

Appendix

Data Questionnaire: The Licensing of External Arguments in English Nominalizations

The evaluation represents the average that we calculated on the basis of the results we collected from ten native speakers. The judgments were given on a scale consisting of OK, ??, ? and *.

To calculate the total results, we counted 15 points for OK, 10 points for ?, 5 points for ?? and 0 points for *. We added the numbers and then calculated the average depending on the number of judgments that we had for each particular example.

A. Licensing of external arguments with separate/separation/separating
1. OK/? Adultery separated Jim and Mary 12.7p
2. OK The teacher separated Jim and Mary 15p
3. ?? The separation of Jim and Mary by adultery 5.5p
4. OK The separation of Jim and Mary by the teacher 13.8p
5. * The separating of Jim and Mary by adultery 2.4p
6. ? The separating of Jim and Mary by the teacher 12.2p
7. ??/* Tdultery’s separation of Jim and Mary 3.3p
8. OK/? The teacher’s separation of Jim and Mary 13.3p
9. * Adultery’s separating of Jim and Mary 1.6p
10. OK/? The teacher’s separating of Jim and Mary 13.3p
B. Licensing of external arguments with destroy/destruction/destroying
1. OK The hurricane destroyed the city 15p
2. OK The soldiers destroyed the city 15p
3. OK The destruction of the city by the hurricane 15p
4. OK The destruction of the city by the soldiers 15p
5. ? The destroying of the city by the hurricane 9.4p
6. ? The destroying of the city by the soldiers 11.1p
C. Licensing of external arguments with verify/verification/verifying
1. OK The scientist verified the initial hypothesis 15p
2. OK The new results verified the initial hypothesis 14.4p
3. OK the verification of the initial hypothesis by the scientist 15p
4. ??/? The verification of the initial hypothesis by the new results 7.7p
5. OK/? the verifying of the initial hypothesis by the scientist 12.2p
6. * The verifying of the initial hypothesis by the new results 1.6p
7. ? The new results’ verification of the initial hypothesis 9.4p
8. OK The scientist’s verification of the initial hypothesis 15p
D. Licensing of external arguments with justify/justification/justifying
1. OK The approaching hurricane justified the evacuation (of the city) 15p
2. OK The mayor justified the evacuation 15p
3. ?/?? The justification of the evacuation by the approaching hurricane 7.2p
4. OK/? The justification of the evacuation by the mayor 13.3p
5. ??/* The justifying of the evacuation by the approaching hurricane 2.7p
6. OK the justifying of the evacuation by the mayor 14.4p
E. Progressive test with destroy and justify (incompatible with states)
1. OK The soldiers were destroying the city when the president called 15p
2. OK The hurricane was destroying the city when we landed 14.4p
3. OK The mayor was justifying the evacuation of the city when the president called. 15p
4. * The approaching hurricane was justifying the evacuation of the city when the president called the mayor. 2.2p

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Alexiadou, A., Iordăchioaia, G., Cano, M. et al. The realization of external arguments in nominalizations. J Comp German Linguistics 16, 73–95 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10828-014-9062-x

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10828-014-9062-x

Keywords

  • Nominalization
  • External argument
  • Causation
  • Direct/Indirect participants
  • Event complexity
  • English
  • German
  • Romanian