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Idan Landau: A Selectional Criterion for Adjunct Control

November 13, 2020 @ 9:00 am  |  Virtual Event


The Department of Linguistics is pleased to present Idan Landau, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev – Israel, speaking on A Selectional Criterion for Adjunct Control.

Zoom Information will be emailed on Thursday, November 12, 2020

Nonfinite adjuncts display a non-uniform control distribution: While all adjuncts accept control by the local matrix subject (Obligatory Control, OC), only some accept other controllers (non-obligatory control, NOC). For example, the rationale clause in (1a) allows NOC by the stimulus clause in (1b) does not.

1a). Mary has made up her mind. Bill would present the speakers [in order PRO to give him the opportunity to practice their names].

1b).Mary giggled. Bill smiled [PRO to see her/him in underwear].

The question which adjuncts fall in which category, and why, has rarely been addressed (see Green 2-18, 2019 for an exception).

Following Landeau 2015, I propose that control operates via prediction (a property-denoting clause) or logophoric anchoring (a propositional cause). The (possibly null) prepositional head of Strict OC adjuncts (as in (1b)) s-selects a property, while that of alternating OC/NOC adjuncts (as in (1a)) s-selects either a property or proposition. This selectional distinction is independently detectable by testing whether the adjunct accepts a lexical subject, providing us with a reliable predictor of its control behavior. In this talk, I will examine 10 different types of adjuncts in English ad demonstrate how this system derives their control patterns. It is further shown that purely configurational theories, that posit complementarity between OC and NOC, are empirically inadequate. Finally, I address the question of why the predictive variant of nonfinite adjuncts is available by default (within and across languages), whereas the propositional variant is not. The explanation hinges on the principle of Economy of Projection, which favors the smaller, predictive variant over the propositional one. The dual analysis of adjunct control offers insights into puzzling language-internal facts as well as typological generalizations, so far unrelated in the theory of control.

Organized by the Department of Linguistics


November 13, 2020
9:00 am