Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

The perfect participle paradox: some implications for the architecture of grammar1

  • CARSTEN BREUL (a1)
Abstract

The topic of this article can be exemplified by the final clause of the following attested sentence: I don't know how he found out that she belonged to that lass, but find out he has. Clauses like this one show a preposed verb phrase that is headed by a plain verb whereas the non-preposed verb phrase of their canonical counterparts is obligatorily headed by a perfect participle (i.e. he has {found / *find} out). This peculiarity of verb phrase preposing, which will be referred to as the perfect participle paradox, has seldom been discussed. The article starts by showing that clauses that manifest the paradox are more frequent in the Corpus of Contemporary American English and in the British National Corpus than their non-paradoxical analogues with preposed canonical perfect participles. The article then looks at the paradox from the point of view of generative syntax, discusses and rejects previous analyses, and argues that a solution entails the rejection of two assumptions that have been associated with a lexicalist position, especially by proponents of distributed morphology. These are the assumptions that (a) a syntactic terminal is an item supplied by the lexicon and comprising a phonological representation and (b) that syntax may not manipulate the internal structure of syntactic terminals. The article proposes an analysis that is not based on these assumptions, but argues that the analysis does not entail the superiority of a distributed morphology framework.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
1

I am grateful to Alex Thiel and Dennis Wegner for help, discussion and proofreading.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Ackema, Peter. 1999. Issues in morphosyntax. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Ackema, Peter & Marelj, Marijana. 2012. To have the empty theta-role. In Everaert, Martin, Marelj, Marijana & Siloni, Tal (eds.), The theta system: Argument structure at the interface, 227–50. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Anderson, Stephen R. 1992. A-morphous morphology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Aronoff, Mark. 1994. Morphology by itself: Stems and inflectional classes. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Biewer, Carolin. 2007. South Pacific Englishes: The influence of New Zealand English and the Oceanic substrate languages. New Zealand English Journal 21, 5863.
Biewer, Carolin. 2 008. South Pacific Englishes: Unity and diversity in the uage of the present perfect. In Nevalainen, Terttu, Taavitsainen, Irma, Pahta, Päivi & Korhonen, Minna (eds.), The dynamics of linguistic variation: Corpus evidence on English past and present, 203–19. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Bjorkman, Bronwyn M. 2011. BE-ing default: The morphosyntax of auxiliaries. Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Bloch, Bernard. 1947. English Verb inflection. Language 23, 399418.
Bresnan, Joan. 2001. Lexical-functional syntax. Malden, MA, and Oxford: Blackwell.
Breul, Carsten. 2004. Focus structure in generative grammar: An integrated syntactic, semantic and intonational approach. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Carstairs-McCarthy, Andrew. 1994. Inflection classes, gender, and the principle of contrast. Language 70 (4), 737–88.
Chomsky, Noam. 1981. Lectures on government and binding: The Pisa lectures. Dordrecht: Foris.
Chomsky, Noam. 1995. The Minimalist Program. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Demirdache, Hamida & Uribe-Etxebarria, Myriam. 2000. The primitives of temporal relations. In Martin, Roger, Michaels, David & Uriagereka, Juan (eds.), Step by step: Essays on minimalist syntax in honor of Howard Lasnik, 157–86. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Deuber, Dagmar. 2010. Modal verb usage at the interface of English and a related creole: A corpus-based study of can/could and will/would in Trinidadian English. Journal of English Linguistics 38 (2), 105–42.
Embick, David. 2010. Localism versus globalism in morphology and phonology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Embick, David & Noyer, Rolf. 2007. Distributed morphology and the syntax–morphology interface. In Ramchand & Reiss (eds.), 289–324.
Guéron, Jaqueline. 2007. On tense and aspect. Lingua 117, 367–91.
Halle, Morris & Marantz, Alec. 1993. Distributed morphology and the pieces of inflection. In Hale, Kenneth & Keyser, Samuel J. (eds.), The view from building 20: Essays in linguistics in honor of Sylvain Bromberger, 111–76. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Harley, Heidi & Noyer, Rolf. 1999. Distributed morphology. Glot International 4 (4), 39.
Huddleston, Rodney & Pullum, Geoffreyet al. 2002. The Cambridge grammar of the English language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Huddleston, Rodney. 2002. The verb. In Huddleston & Pullum et al., 71–213.
Kortmann, Bernd & Lunkenheimer, Kerstin (eds.) 2013. The electronic world atlas of varieties of English. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. (Available online at http://ewave-atlas.org, accessed 18 January 2014).
Lasnik, Howard & Sobin, Nicholas. 2000. The who /whom puzzle: On the preservation of an archaic feature. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 18, 343–71.
Leap, William L. 1993. American Indian English. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
Marantz, Alec. 1997. No escape from syntax: Don't try morphological analysis in the privacy of your own lexicon. In Dimitriadis, Alexis, Siegel, Laura, Surek-Clark, Clarissa & Williams, Alexander (eds.), Proceedings of the Annual Penn Linguistics Colloquium (21st, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 22–23, 1997), University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 4(2), 201–25.
Nevins, Andrew & Parrot, Jeffrey K.. 2010. Variable rules meet impoverishment theory: Patterns of agreement leveling in English varieties. Lingua 120, 1135–59.
Oku, Satoshi. 1996. Perfective participle paradox in English VP-fronting. In Green, Antony Dubach & Motapanyane, Virginia (eds.), Proceedings of the Thirteenth Eastern States Conference on Linguistics ’96 (ESCOL), 282293. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University.
Oku, Satoshi. 1998. A theory of selection and reconstruction in the minimalist perspective. PhD dissertation, University of Connecticut.
Pullum, Geoffrey K. 2013. The central question in comparative syntactic metatheory. Mind & Language 28 (4), 492521.
Ramchand, Gillian & Reiss, Charles (eds.). 2007. Linguistic interfaces. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rauh, Gisa. 2000a. Wi(e)der die Wortarten! Zum Problem linguistischer Kategorisierung. Linguistische Berichte 184, 485507.
Rauh, Gisa. 2000b. Don't call it ‘X’! or: Why X does not represent grammatical categories. In Janßen, Hero (ed.), Verbal projections, 121. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Rauh, Gisa. 2010. Syntactic categories: Their identification and description in linguistic theories. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Urushibara, Saeko. 1997. Facets of the English past participle. In Ukaji, Masatomo, Nakao, Toshio, Kajita, Masaru & Chiba, Shuji (eds.), English linguistics: A festschrift for Akira Ota on the occasion of his 80th birthday, 130–46. Tokyo: Taishukan.
Ward, Gregory L. 1988. The semantics and pragmatics of preposing. New York: Garland.
Ward, Gregory L., Birner, Betty & Huddleston, Rodney. 2002. Information packaging. In Huddleston & Pullum et al., 1363–1447.
Williams, Edwin. 2007. Dumping lexicalism. In Ramchand & Reiss (eds.), 353–81.
Wurmbrand, Susi. 2012. The syntax of valuation in auxiliary-participle constructions. In Choi, Jaehoon, Hogue, E. Alan, Punske, Jeffrey, Tat, Deniz, Schertz, Jessamyn & Trueman, Alex (eds.), Coyote papers: Working papers in linguistics, vol. 20: Proceedings of the Poster Session of the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL), held April, 2011, 154–62. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Linguistics Circle.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

English Language & Linguistics
  • ISSN:
  • EISSN:
  • URL: /core/journals/english-language-and-linguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed