Download Issues in Formal German(ic) Typology by Werner Abraham, C. Jan-Wouter Zwart PDF

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By Werner Abraham, C. Jan-Wouter Zwart

This booklet takes up quite a few normal syntactic subject matters, which both yield diverse suggestions in German, specifically, or which bring about varied conclusions for concept formation. one of many major subject matters is the truth that languages that permit for wide scrambling among the 2 verbal poles, V-2 and V-last, have to combine discourse services like thema and rhema into the grammatical description. this is often tried, by way of Minimalism, therefore extending the practical area. precise cognizance is given to the asymmetrical scrambling habit of indefinites vs. definites and their semantic interpretation. comparable issues are: Transitive expletive sentences, forms of existential sentences with both BE or HAVE, the that-trace phenomenon and its semantics, damaging polarity goods, ellipsis and gapping, passivization, double negation ― all of that have broad results either on distributional habit and semantic disambiguation, achieving a long way past results observable in English with its inflexible, ‘un-scrambable’ be aware order.

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In his view, old and new information are mapped onto different syntactic positions in German. The VP-external domain corresponds to thematicity, while the VP-internal domain, commencing at sentence adverbs and modal particles, is linked to rhematicity. Crucially, elements can differ with respect to the discourse values they represent inherently (by virtue of category membeship like pronouns or clitics) or context-bound (like definites and indefinites) and are therefore linked to different licensing domains.

Given this, any assumed categorial distinction between weak and strong pronouns must be based on stressability conditions purely, a prosodic correlate that cannot self-evidently be taken to indicate new categorial membership (contrary to Cardinaletti & Starke 1995 and others). e. antifocus. It is thus not the different categorial or “deficiency” status of pronouns that is mirrored in their different syntactic (base) positions and different grade of stressability or coordinability (see Cardinaletti & Starke 1996; Grohmann 1997).

Therefore, any assumed destressing license can be tied only to discourse referential entities which are important for the interpretation of focus structure. ), which receive their stress marking by default mechanisms, independently of focus structure. In the light of the empirical data, we propose the following generalization: (29) The destressing license is tied to definiteness by default. (29) is a rather powerful generalization, given that pronouns and full definite nouns, in spite of their not necessarily identical discourse status, are assumed to carry the same destressing license for D-linking.

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