The syntax of existential quantification
Ph.D. Dissertation, 1996
This dissertation examines several issues in the Generative Grammar framework
concerned with the relation between surface syntax and Logical Form (LF).
First, it considers the question of how LF representations are built in
structures containing an abstract existential operator ($/exists$) which,
according to Heim's semantic theory, is introduced at LF (Heim's Existential
Closure over VP). It is proposed that the semantic operator $/exists$
is subject to the Lexicalization Requirement which establishes a licensing
relation between semantic operators and overt syntactic categories. Empirical
evidence, drawn mainly from Russian copular sentences, is used to demonstrate
that Existential Closure fails to occur unless it is licensed by a verbal
element which must be present in the overt syntax. The analysis proposed
in this work treats the copula as an 'expletive' that is inserted in functional
projections to support various syntactic features and/or Existential Closure.
Definiteness Effects in Russian locative and possessive sentences are
described, which further supports the proposal. Another question discussed
is whether the formation of quantificational domains at LF is reflected
in the surface syntax of scrambling languages. It is demonstrated that
in Russian, which is a typical scrambling language, surface positions
of NPs do not correlate with any particular interpretations, which would
be expected if scrambling were motivated by LF-building principles. Moreover,
Russian allows semantic variables to scramble outside the scope of operators
that bind them, creating surface representations that cannot be directly
mapped to LFs. Therefore, it is proposed that scrambling is motivated
by an independent set of principles operating at I(nformation)-structure
which is a level of representation distinct from LF. Two types of scrambling,
F-scrambling and N-scrambling, are described which are motivated by two
different mechanisms operating in surface syntax: I-structure building,
and I-structure disambiguation.
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