Proceedings of FDSL 9, Göttingen 2011
Jakub Dotlačil & Radek Šimík: Peeling, Structural Case, and Czech Retroactive Infinitives
Peeling, Structural Case, and Czech Retroactive Infinitives* Jakub Dotlačil & Radek Šimík University of California at Santa Cruz & University of Potsdam Abstract In Czech, several verbs can embed infinitives in which the object, not the subject, appears to function as the controlled argument. Following Jespersen (1940) we call these infinitives retroactive infinitives and analyze them as hidden passives, in which an object base-generated in the embedded structure enters into an A-relation (phi-agreement, Case-assignment, A- movement) with the matrix structure. We show that a proper analysis of Czech retroactive infinitives contributes to our understanding of structural Case assignment and structural deficiency. In particular, we argue that structural Dative is licensed higher than structural Accusative and that peeling is the default mechanism of structural impoverishment. 1 Introduction There is an unexpected ambiguity in Czech infinitives embedded under verbs potřebovat ‘need’, chtít ‘want’, and zasloužit si ‘deserve’, as illustrated in (1)- (3). While examples with the reading in (a) are standard control structures, in (b) it is the embedded object that is referentially dependent on the matrix subject. The embedded, referentially dependent object is unpronounced but would normally be realized as an argument in accusative, (1), or in dative, (2) and (3).1 (1) Ten muž potřebuje milovat. that man.nom needs love.inf a. ‘That man needs to love (somebody).’ b. ‘That man needs love (from somebody).’ * We would like to thank the following people for valuable feedback (in alphabetical order): Gisbert Fanselow, Jarmila Panevová, Milan...
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