Towards a unified analysis of the syntax and semantics of get constructions
This thesis develops a novel, unified, syntactic and semantic analysis for a range of get constructions including those with adjectival, prepositional and verbal complements. There are two reasons to believe that such an approach is justified. First, the relevant get constructions demonstrate similar semantic characteristics across complement types, e.g. the presence of Cause (in the sense of Pylkkanen 2008), leading to an obligatorily resultative change-of-state interpretation. Second, the range of constructions display syntactic similarities: for each get construction with no external argument there is a corresponding construction with an external argument; and all of the relevant get constructions take a predicative small clause complement. The approach defended here utilises a formal syntactic and semantic framework to propose an analysis in which get is interpreted as a causative functional head which takes a PredP complement whose function is to add a Holder argument to the property expression in its complement (Bowers 1993, Adger and Ramchand 2003). At this point one of two things may occur. Either (i), the Holder argument raises to the sentential subject position, or (ii), it remains in-situ and an argument external to the causative head is introduced, and then raised to subject position. The thesis shows that, contra Pylkk¨anen 2008, and unlike any other English constructions, get constructions may project Cause without necessarily ‘bundling’ it together with Voice in the syntax. The resulting claims impact on topics in theoretical linguistics as varied as predication, causation, reflexivity and binding, property theory and passivisation, and hold consequences for the nature of the syntax semantics interface.
AuthorsBrownlow, Oliver Samuel
- Theses