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Comparative adverb syntax

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Abstract

In this paper I investigate the neutral structure of the <i>Mittelfeld</i> in Germanic (mainly German) and Romance (mainly French) languages following the cartographic approach (Cinque 1999, 2005, 2010; Kayne 1994, 2005; Cinque &#38; Rizzi 2008; Laenzlinger 2011). Given the full VP-evacuation condition (Laenzlinger &#38; Soare 2005a/b), all arguments, whether DPs or PPs, are probed out of the vP and reach their Case- or P-related position inside the <i>Mittelfeld </i>(Kayne 2002; Cinque 2010). Adverbs externally-merge as ordered specifiers of semantico-functional projections given Cinque&#8217;s (1999) hierarchy. Non-pronominal arguments may float among adverbs depending on their nature (subject, DP-object, PP-object) and their informational status. As for DP/PP adjuncts (the so-called adverbials), they merge in a domain higher than that of object arguments (Schweikert 2005). Given these assumptions I will show that Cinque&#8217;s (2010) left-right asymmetry holds for the derivational structure of the <i>Mittelfeld</i> when comparing V-final configurations (German) with V-initial configurations (French). For instance, if we take an adjunct (a locative adverbial), an object argument, a modal adverb and a manner adverb, the most neutral order is Adverbmodal &#60; Adjunct &#60; Argument &#60; Adverbmanner &#60; V &#60; Aux in V&#43;Aux-final configurations (e.g. German), while it is Aux &#60; Adverbmodal &#60; V &#60; Adverbmanner &#60; Argument &#60; Adjunct in Aux&#43;V-initial configurations (e.g. in French). I will further show that object arguments and adjuncts, like adverbs, follow a basic hierarchical order depending on their formal and/or semantic properties (Time &#62; Loc &#62; Manner &#62; Dative argument &#62; Accusative argument &#62; PP-argument, respectively). Some reordering is possible based on subtle properties of informational structure and involves derivational devices such as pied-piping and remnant movement.

References

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