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dr Jute Hartman
Univerzitet u Tibingenu, Nemačka

"English Existential there and Predication"

Četvrtak, 17. decembar 2009, s početkom u 13.00 sati,
Filozofski fakultet, Novi Sad, sala 30/1

Abstract: English existential sentences of the type "there are people who don't like their jobs" have been subject to major debate in recent theoretical thinking. In this talk, I will look at two analyses that take "there" to be part of the predication structure in the sentences (contra the Chomskyan position): While Moro (1997) takes "there" to be the predicate, Williams (1994, 2006) and Hazout (2004, 2008) argue that the noun phrase is the predicate in these sentences. I will show that neither of the two analyses is adequate. Moro (1997) makes the wrong predictions for the extraction data in there-sentences, therefore his analysis cannot be upheld. At the same time, it is clear that the noun phrase in there-sentences does not behave like a predicate nominal in several respects. This leaves us with the paradoxical situation that there-sentences seem not to have a predicate in their structure (if we do not assume an existential verb be that selects for two arguments). I will propose a solution to this paradox: I suggest that English existential sentences provide a syntactic predication structure (in the sense of Bowers 1993 and follow-up work) in which the noun phrase occupies the predicate position. I will argue that this con guration is interpreted in the semantic component as an information structural predication, a thetic statement about a situation (picked up by there) to which an individual with the properties given in the noun phrase is added.


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