Edge-Based Clausal Syntax: A Study of (Mostly) English Object Structure

Edge-Based Clausal Syntax: A Study of (Mostly) English Object Structure

by Paul M. Postal

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Overview

An argument that there are three kinds of English grammatical objects, each with different syntactic properties.

In Edge-Based Clausal Syntax , Paul Postal rejects the notion that an English phrase of the form [V + DP] invariably involves a grammatical relation properly characterized as a direct object. He argues instead that at least three distinct relations occur in such a structure. The different syntactic properties of these three kinds of objects are shown by how they behave in passives, middles, -able forms, tough movement, wh-movement, Heavy NP Shift, Ride Node Raising, re-prefixation, and many other tests.

This proposal renders Postal's position sharply different from that of Chomsky, who defined a direct object structurally as [NP, VP], and with the traditional linguistics text's definition of the direct object as the DP sister of V. According to Postal's framework, sentence structures are complex graph structures built on nodes (vertices) and edges (arcs). The node that heads a particular edge represents a constituent that bears the grammatical relation named by the edge label to its tail node. This approach allows two DPs that have very different grammatical properties to occupy what looks like identical structural positions. The contrasting behaviors of direct objects, which at first seem anomalous—even grammatically chaotic—emerge in Postal's account as nonanomalous, as symptoms of hitherto ungrasped structural regularity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262512756
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 12/17/2010
Series: The MIT Press
Pages: 488
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Paul M. Postal is the author of many books, including On Raising and Edge-Based Clausal Syntax (both published by the MIT Press).

Table of Contents

Foreword Chris Collins xi

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xvii

1 Introduction 1

1.1 Concept Barrels 1

1.2 Languages and Grammars 3

1.3 Linguistic Trees 7

1.4 Edge-Extended Linguistic Trees 10

1.5 Beyond Edge-Extended Linguistic Trees: Metagraphs 23

1.6 Anaphora, Arc Relations, and Arc Types 33

2 Objects and Arrays 47

2.1 Objects 47

2.2 Diverse Types of English Objects 49

2.3 Types of Single Object Structures 54

2.4 Array 0 55

2.5 Array 1 56

2.6 Array 2 64

2.7 The Prefix Re- 68

2.8 What the Distinct Arrays Imply 69

3 Double Object Structures 75

3.1 Basics 75

3.2 Links between Array 2 Single Objects and Ditransitive First Objects 78

3.3 Prepositional Flagging 97

3.4 More on 3 Objects and 3-Object-to-2 Advancement 103

3.5 Links between Array 1 Single Objects and Ditransitive Second Objects 106

3.6 The Universal Status of 3 Object and 4 Object Types 111

3.7 Distinct Relations at Different Levels 115

3.8 Reconstructing 3 Objects as a Special Kind of PP 128

3.9 A Problem in Peruvian Spanish 131

3.10 Certain Gentian Ditransitive 3 Objects 134

4 Periphrastic and Nonperiphrastic Passives 141

4.1 Preliminary Remarks 141

4.2 The Overall Structure of Periphrastic Passive Constituents 141

4.3 Clause Union Complement Passives 151

4.4 Clauses That Only Look Like Periphrastic Passives 158

4.5 More on Peruvian Spanish 3-Object-to-2 Advancement 161

4.6 Passive Victim Arc Constraints 162

4.7 Middles as Synthetic Passives 167

4.8 Remarks on Antipassives 180

4.9 Appendix: Remarks on Adjectival Clauses 188

5 Passivization Targets: I 197

5.1 The Adequacy of Simple 2 Object Restrictions 197

5.2 Pseudopassives and Pseudomiddles 200

5.3 The Interaction of Ditransitive Passives with Demotion to 4 215

5.4 Appendix: Pseudopassives and Adjectival Conversion 221

6 Passivization Targets: II 231

6.1 Periphrastic Passivization and Restricted Phenomena 231

6.2 Expletive There: Basics 232

6.3 Expletive There: Further Implications 249

6.4 Implications: Pseudopassive/Ditransitive Passive Parallels 254

6.5 Particles and 3 Object-Like Behavior 259

7 Passivization Targets: III 265

7.1 Passive Conclusions So Far 265

7.2 The Most Basic Constraints on English Passivization 266

7.3 Basic Past Ditransitive Passive Observations 268

7.4 Enriching the Database: I 271

7.5 Enriching the Database: II 276

7.6 Not Enriching the Database 279

7.7 Failures of Ditransitive 4 Object Passivization 280

7.8 Two Alternative Viewpoints 289

8 Visser's Generalization 297

8.1 A Much-Discussed Passivization Failure 297

8.2 Other Control Cases 299

8.3 One Aspect of Visser's Generalization Has Nothing to Do with Control 302

8.4 Visser's Generalization and Constraints on 3 Object Passivization 304

8.5 Visser's Generalization Does Not Fully Reduce to Independent Passive Principles 311

8.6 Perlmutter's Generalization 322

8.7 Quace-Based Constraints on Pseudopassivization and Q Constructions 330

8.8 Some Issues Related to Visser's Generalization 338

8.9 The Absence of Visser's Generalization Restrictions in Promise Nominalizations 343

8.10 French Parallels to Visser's Generalization 344

8.11 An Apparent Problem 352

9 Clauses with That Clause Complements 357

9.1 Some Basic That Clause Passive Considerations 357

9.2 Type II Verbal Clause Structures 361

9.3 Ditransitive Clauses with That Clause Complements 372

9.4 A Paradigm 381

9.5 Brief Remarks on Particles, 3 Objects, and That Clauses 385

10 Results, If Any 389

Notes 391

References 431

Author Index 453

Subject Index 457

What People are Saying About This

Judith Aissen

Edge-Based Clausal Syntax puts the study of English objects on new footing. A gold mine of hitherto unrecognized generalizations, it provides a rigorous and unflinching account within Metagraph Grammar and thereby challenges more widely accepted approaches to do equally well. Like Cross-over Phenomena and On Raising, this book will set an agenda for syntactic theory for decades to come.

Endorsement

Edge-Based Clausal Syntax represents the culmination of Paul Postal's career as a distinguished syntactician and relentless gadfly. Postal does a variety of things that are almost unheard of in mainstream theorizing: he sets out in the most careful details the content of his formal apparatus; he applies it to a very wide range of data, both familiar and novel; he reexamines widely assumed previous analyses and shows where and how they fail; and he formulates precise generalizations whose denotations are completely explicit.

Against the background of vagueness, appeals to authority and speculation posing as theorizing, Postal's book stands out as a model of intellectual integrity. The book's combination of broad and deep scholarship, painstaking attention to the details of argumentation, and his penchant for exposing the weaknesses in standard treatments of grammatical phenomena sets a standard that one can only hope the rest of the field will rise to in responding to his work.

Robert Levine, Department of Linguistics, Ohio State University

From the Publisher

Edge-Based Clausal Syntax puts the study of English objects on new footing. A gold mine of hitherto unrecognized generalizations, it provides a rigorous and unflinching account within Metagraph Grammar and thereby challenges more widely accepted approaches to do equally well. Like Cross-over Phenomena and On Raising , this book will set an agenda for syntactic theory for decades to come.

Judith Aissen , Department of Linguistics, University of California, Santa Cruz

Edge-Based Clausal Syntax represents the culmination of Paul Postal's career as a distinguished syntactician and relentless gadfly. Postal does a variety of things that are almost unheard of in mainstream theorizing: he sets out in the most careful details the content of his formal apparatus; he applies it to a very wide range of data, both familiar and novel; he reexamines widely assumed previous analyses and shows where and how they fail; and he formulates precise generalizations whose denotations are completely explicit.

Against the background of vagueness, appeals to authority and speculation posing as theorizing, Postal's book stands out as a model of intellectual integrity. The book's combination of broad and deep scholarship, painstaking attention to the details of argumentation, and his penchant for exposing the weaknesses in standard treatments of grammatical phenomena sets a standard that one can only hope the rest of the field will rise to in responding to his work.

Robert Levine , Department of Linguistics, Ohio State University

Robert Levine

Edge-Based Clausal Syntax represents the culmination of Paul Postal's career as a distinguished syntactician and relentless gadfly. Postal does a variety of things that are almost unheard of in mainstream theorizing: he sets out in the most careful details the content of his formal apparatus; he applies it to a very wide range of data, both familiar and novel; he reexamines widely assumed previous analyses and shows where and how they fail; and he formulates precise generalizations whose denotations are completely explicit.

Against the background of vagueness, appeals to authority and speculation posing as theorizing, Postal's book stands out as a model of intellectual integrity. The book's combination of broad and deep scholarship, painstaking attention to the details of argumentation, and his penchant for exposing the weaknesses in standard treatments of grammatical phenomena sets a standard that one can only hope the rest of the field will rise to in responding to his work.

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