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Syntactic description and argument structure: Unaccusativity, passivization, binding

Kyungsik Shin

Ph.D. Dissertation, 1999

Abstract

Throughout this thesis, I show that the notion of the argument structure of a predicative head, which means a lexical head with its own theta-roles to assign, is an important notion in certain areas of the syntactic descriptions. In Chapter 2, I show that the Unaccusative Hypothesis well motivated in the study of the clitic ne in Italian and the resultative constructions in English can be motivated also in the study of the linking regularity in Korean. I argue that the verbs which has been traditionally regarded as the lexical passive verbs in Korean are in fact the unaccusative verbs, while the periphrastic passive verbs in Korean are true passive verbs. I consider the derivation of unaccusative verbs and passive verbs in Korean and argue that the unaccusative verbs are derived in the lexicon by the lexical rule operating on the argument structures of the predicative heads, i.e., the corresponding transitive verbs, while the passive verbs are derived in syntax by syntactic incorporation. In chapter 3, I examine the relevance of the notion of the argument structure of a predicative head to the binding theory. Chomsky (1980, 1981, 1982, 1986) and Chomsky and Lasnik (1993), among others, develop the structural binding theory in which the structural notion of c-command is a central notion. Pointing out some empirical problems with the structural binding theory, Reinhart and Reuland (1991, 1993) and Reuland and Reinhart (1991) develop the thematic binding theory in which the notion of the argument structure of a predicative head is a central one. I point out some problems with both the structural binding theory and the thematic binding theory, and propose the structural and thematic binding theory into which the notion of c-command from the structural binding theory and the notion of argument structure of a predicative head from the thematic binding theory are incorporated.

 
 
Department of Linguistics University of Wisconsin-Madison

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