By Susan Rothstein
Predicates and their Subjects is an in-depth examine of the syntax-semantics interface concentrating on the constitution of the subject-predicate relation. ranging from the place the author's 1983 dissertation left off, the ebook argues that there's syntactic constraint that clauses (small and tensed) are built out of a one-place unsaturated expression, the predicate, which has to be utilized to a syntactic argument, its topic. the writer indicates that this predication relation can't be lowered to a thematic relation or a projection of argument constitution, yet needs to be a basically syntactic constraint. Chapters within the e-book express how the syntactic predication relation is semantically interpreted, and the way the predication relation explains constraints on DP-raising and at the distribution of pleonastics in English. the second one half the ebook extends the idea of predication to hide copular structures; it comprises an account of the constitution of small clauses in Hebrew, of using `be' in predicative and identification sentences in English, and concludes with a examine of the which means of the verb `be'.
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Extra resources for Predicates and Their Subjects
Reinhart argues that in bare ellipsis constructions the missing semantic material is a predicate derived by lambda abstracting over a sentence with a free variable in it. This sentence is derived in the antecedent clause by raising an NP and adjoining it to a sentence, resulting in a logical form of the shape [NP [..... e . . . ]]IP' The evidence for this is that normal subjacency constraints govern the raising of the NP, and thus the deriving of the predicate from the antecedent. The NP cannot be raised out of wh-islands, relative clauses, etc.
Rapp aport and Levin (1988) Predicates and their subjects 31 have argued that the only fact relevant to syntax is the number of theta-roles that a head has to assign, and not their types; in any case the proper way to resolve this discussion isn't going to be relevant here. I assume, of course, that the theta-grid of a head correlates in a predictable way with the semantic relation it denotes, and I'll discuss the details of this in Part II. To look ahead though, I'll be assuming a neo-Davidsonian version of Davidsonian event theory (Davidson 1967), as argued for in Parsons (1990), Higginbotham (1985) and Landman (1996, 1999).
I think it is possible to give a precise definition of the difference between lexical and functional heads in terms of the kinds of semantic relations that they denote, but we will not need a more precise distinction than the one I have given here. The functional heads which will chiefly interest us here are Complementiser or C, Inflection or Infl (or I) and Determiner or D. Inflection is a head which takes VP complements and whose maximal projection is a sentence. It consists of a bundle of grammatical features, including tense and agreement, and when it includes [+tense], it assigns nominative case to the subject.