Date of Degree

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Linguistics

Advisor

Marcel den Dikken

Committee Members

Christina Tortora

William McClure

Thomas Leu

Subject Categories

Linguistics

Abstract

This is a study of the meaning and syntax of non-(lexical)verbal causation. Macroscopically, it examines the preposition 'from' as attested in contexts like "X is/comes from Y". Syntactic diagnostics are applied to formally distinguish the causative from the spatial interpretations of `from'-PPs in Greek, English, Dutch, and German. The syntactic landscape of causative 'from' will turn out to be very minimal with 'from' directly selecting the Cause-DP, in contradistinction to its spatial counterpart, where 'from' always selects for another PP layer. More microscopically then I focus on the causative interpretations only, which are particularly revealing because (i) they give an in-depth view of CAUSE, stripped of all verbal layers--traditionally considered the locus of CAUSE--suggesting that the source of causation in non-(lexical)verbal environments has to be the preposition per se and (ii) they single-handedly provide a rudimentary structure for causation, where 'from' introduces the Cause in its complement and is predicated of the Causee. Finally, with a basic predicational structure in place, I offer a detailed cross-linguistic account for the syntactic mechanism that forces the use of particle verbs in causative 'from'-less environments.

Comments

Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.

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