Really weird subjects. The syntax of family names in Bavarian.

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The syntax of (first or last) names shows many interesting properties in Bavarian &#8211; as well as in other German dialects. Yet this paper will focus on a type of construction that seems to occur only in Bavarian. Family Names (FN) are combined with a preposition which can be <i>von</i> &#8216;of&#8217; or <i>bei</i> &#8216;at&#8217; depending on the regional variety of Bavarian. The PP consisting of the preposition plus an encliticized definite article marked for dative plus FN &#8211; <i>von/bein FN</i> &#8211; can surface as an argument in a sentence, preferably as subject. It will be argued that these seemingly prepositional subjects are DPs and not PPs. The Bavarian preposition <i>von</i>, comparable to English <i>of</i>, is a functional item used as a substitute for the lost genitive case. Therefore, for the <i>von</i>-type, I will propose a small-clause-structure which was developed for possessive constructions (Szabolsci 1983; Kayne 1993; Uriagereka 2002; Wei&#223; 2008). Although the <i>bei</i>-type is of different origin &#8211; locative constructions with a subject clitic &#8211; it can be observed that it got assimilated to the <i>von</i>-type. Both types of constructions are convincing evidence for the fact that underlying structures are sometimes much more complex than the surface strings seem to require.


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