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Phonological, morphosyntactic and semantic properties of <i>es</i>

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Abstract

The contribution deals with the German multifunctional item es and its suppletive forms dessen, dem and da(r). Their phonological, morphosyntactic and semantic lexical properties are considered and represented in corresponding lexical entries. The focus of attention is on the interrelation of the anaphoric and cataphoric functions of es and its role in sentence embedding. As far as possible, a unified syntactic and semantic analysis is given. As for the pro-form and the correlate es, I follow the differentiation of two matrix-predicate classes made by Sudhoff (2003) and try to add necessary distinctions and semantic considerations. For some types of matrix-predicates lexical representations are proposed. It is assumed that the correlate has an obligatory propositional argument, while the pro-forms es, dessen, dem, and da(r) occur separately or are accompanied by an apposition. The extraposition of the propositional argument of the correlate takes place for phonological and/or computational reasons and is not visible, semantically. In contrast, explicative constituents of pronouns and pro-forms can be base-generated right-dislocated to the matrix-sentence and are semantically correlated with their antecedent. The same seems true for cleft-constructions. It is discussed what it means to supply embedded clauses with nominal character. In this connection, a comparison is made between DPs with a pronominal head and DPs with a determiner and a lexical head with regard to their role in the embedding of clauses.

References

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