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Preposition-Stranding and Passive*

  • Joan Maling (a1) and Annie Zaenen (a2)

Various linguists working within the theory of Government and Binding (e.g. Hornstein & Weinberg (1981), Kayne (1981)) have attempted to provide a unified account of preposition-stranding. This article uses evidence from Icelandic to show that preposition-stranding is not a unified phenomenon. Although Icelandic freely allows preposition-stranding in wh-movement constructions, it lacks prepositional passives in which the prepositional object of an active verb corresponds to the grammatical subject of a passive verb. Various syntactic tests which distinguish between grammatical subjects and topicalized NPs are used to demonstrate this. Our conclusion is that while lexical reanalysis is needed to account for prepositional passives, no such reanalysis is warranted for preposition-stranding due to wh-movement; hence, an adequate theory of preposition-stranding must allow for two separate parameters.

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A. Zaenen , J. Maling & H. Thrainsson 1984. Passive and Oblique Case. Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax No. 16, University of Trondheim; revised version, entitled “Case and Grammatical Functions: the Icelandic Passive,” to appear in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 3, 441483.

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Nordic Journal of Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0332-5865
  • EISSN: 1502-4717
  • URL: /core/journals/nordic-journal-of-linguistics
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