LSA.232 | Topics in the Morpho-syntax of Ditransitives
course web site: http://lsa.dlp.mit.edu/Class/232
In this course we will explore some fundamental issues associated with the syntax of double object and related constructions with a theme and a goal, beneficiary or possessor argument. These issues include: decomposition and base structure, movement and cross-linguistic variation. For decomposition and base structure, we will consider proposals by Beck and Johnson, Harley, Larson, Marantz, Pesetsky, Pylkkänen, with related works also by Kratzer, Levin, and others. We will discuss the phenomena that have been argued to diagnose the presence of a functional head (applicative or null "have") introducing the indirect object (e.g. presence of overt applicative morphemes, ban on nominalizations, availability of restitutive readings of "again"). One issue we take up is the notion of "cause" that appears in double object constructions. There are languages in which "cause" can be detected in the overt form, which gives credence to the decomposition of double-object verbs into "cause" and other components. We will see how such an analysis fares with alternative approaches, including consideration of the base structure. For movement we take up, among others, the cross-linguistic phenomenon of the theme being allowed, or not allowed, from A-moving when a goal phrase is present. We will compare theories that treat the phenomenon in Case-theoretic terms (Baker, Larson, Pesetsky) to alternative theories that treat it as an intervention effect (Anagnostopoulou, Holmberg and Platzack, McGinnis, Ura). For cross-linguistic variation, we will look at case marking (accusative or dative on the goal), preposition marking (path denoting prepositions like English "to" vs. unspecified locative prepositions like Romance "a"), word order (fixed as in English vs. free as in Japanese), and semantic effects in word-order alternation (double object readings of goal>theme orders vs. prepositional readings of theme>goal orders; Miyagawa and Tsujioka).
Prerequisites: Some background in syntactic theory at the intermediate or advanced level.