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Understanding Predication


Edited By Piotr Stalmaszczyk

This book investigates the linguistic status of predication, especially within the generative paradigm. The topics discussed include minimalist accounts of predication, types of predication, copular constructions, topic and focus, theticity and transitivity. The contributions analyze constructions from a wide variety of languages, including English, Polish, Irish, Welsh, Norwegian, German, Arabic, Ostyak, Mongolian, Japanese and Chinese. This book contributes to contemporary debates on understanding predication in linguistics and in the philosophy of language.

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Predicative Predicament: Predication and the Syntax–Semantics Relationship in the Minimalist Program (Jarosław Jakielaszek)


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Jarosław Jakielaszek

University of Warsaw

Predicative Predicament: Predication and the Syntax–Semantics Relationship in the Minimalist Program

Abstract: A minimalist explanation of predicative properties of syntactic structures generated in narrow syntax requires in the current state of the development of syntactic theory that they be appropriately anchored to properties and operations independently postulated by the theory of UG, and that introduction of syntactic devices specifically tailored to fulfill interpretive requirements be avoided. The generative operation merge is not sufficient to ensure that predicative properties of syntactic structures will emerge, both external and internal merge applying freely and resulting in syntactic objects lacking asymmetry required for the predicative interpretation to arise. In a merge-based theory of narrow syntax, an anchoring for such properties might be provided by an account of syntactic and semantic relevance of features which participate in syntactic processes. Given the central role of labeling for interpretive properties of syntactic structures, a possible locus of determination of predicative properties may be located in the labeling procedure, as late as immediately before the transition from narrow syntax to interpretive components. Labeling itself, a procedure applied to uninterpreted syntactic objects and determining on current assumptions their interpretability for post-syntactic processes, as well as features eligible as labels, would then have to find a systematic mapping to interpretive properties, predicative ones included. In the domain of A-relations, φ-features are the most plausible candidates for being interpretively correlated with the asymmetry required of...

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