Really weird subjects. The syntax of family names in Bavarian.
The syntax of (first or last) names shows many interesting properties in Bavarian – 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> ‘of’ or <i>bei</i> ‘at’ depending on the regional variety of Bavarian. The PP consisting of the preposition plus an encliticized definite article marked for dative plus FN – <i>von/bein FN</i> – 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; Weiß 2008). Although the <i>bei</i>-type is of different origin – locative constructions with a subject clitic – 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.