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Lecture 5: Prepositional Verbs and Phrasal Verbs.

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1 Lecture 5: Prepositional Verbs and Phrasal Verbs

2  PPs are often adverbials = modifiers  They met [in the street](location)  She left [on Wednesday](time)  He retaliated [in anger](manner)  These are adjuncts – not restricted by the predicate:  They met [in the street] [on Wednesday] [in anger]  But some verbs take PP arguments, which are restricted  He put the box [in the street]  * he put the box [on Wednesday]  * he put the box [with anger]

3  PP arguments have a number of properties which are more like adjuncts  They are often omissible  He sent the letter ([to Mary])  But not always - he gave the letter * ([to Mary])  They are always further from the verb than DP arguments:  * He sent [to Mary] the letter  * he put [in the street] the box  They can appear after adjuncts  He put the box [carelessly] [in the street]

4  Omissibility is not really a distinct property of adjuncts:  All adjuncts are omissible  Some arguments are omissible  He was eating (his dinner)  We can separate the two kinds of omissiblity:  He sent a letter (to London)  He drove the car (to London)  Is it possible to:  Conceive of an act of ‘sending’ for which there is no goal?  Not really – it isn’t ‘sending’ otherwise  Conceive of an act of ‘driving’ for which there is no goal?  Of course – driving can just involve making a vehicle move

5  It isn’t possible to conceive of any event which does not take place in time and space  Does this mean that time and location modifiers are arguments?  If something applies to everything, it can’t be due to the meaning of individual predicates  I phoned Bill on Wednesday  It isn’t part of the meaning of ‘to phone’ that it takes place at a certain time  This is just a fact about the universe – you don’t even need to know what ‘to phone’ means to know this

6  Given that all events take place in time and space, then time and location are never part of the meaning of a predicate  So, they are always adjuncts  No predicate has a time argument  But some have location arguments  He placed the book in his bag  This is not the location of the event, but the location the theme comes to occupy due to the event taking place  He placed the book in his bag in the library

7  Is the goal an adjunct or argument?:  He posted the letter to Mary  He posted the letter  There are two meanings for ‘post’  To send via the postal system  To put something in the post  Similar to:  Shelve a book = put a book on a shelf  Post a letter = put a letter in the post  ‘Send’ obviously has a goal argument (you can’t send without one)  ‘Put’ clearly has no goal  So whether the goal is an argument or not depends on which ‘post’ is involved

8  The difference between DP and PP arguments is due to Case  DPs have to occupy Case positions  PPs don’t  Therefore the distribution of DPs is more restricted than that of PPs

9  Argument positions are fixed at D-structure  So a PP argument’s distribution should not be any different to a DP’s – at D-structure  This suggests that PPs can undergo movements which DPs can’t

10  There is evidence that some phrases move to the back of the clause (mostly clauses and PPs):  A man [with a suitcase] arrived  A man arrived [with a suitcase]  A man [who seemed nice] phoned  A man phoned, [who seemed nice]  This movement is called Extraposition  Its function seems to be to focus the extraposed phrase (add new salient information)  What surprised me was:  that a man with a suitcase arrived  that a man arrived with a suitcase

11  Due to extraposition a PP argument can move behind a PP modifier:  I gave the money t 1 [with reluctance] [to Bill] 1  Therefore it only appears that PP arguments have distributions like adjuncts  Note, some DPs also undergo extraposition:  I met John yesterday  * I met yesterday John  I met yesterday [everyone who John told me to]  This is called Heavy DP shift  Only DPs with ‘heavy’ content can undergo it

12  In the dative construction the PP goal is the complement of the lexical verb  As this position follows all DP arguments, it seems reasonable to assume that this is the position for all PP arguments

13  Some verbs have two PP arguments  I spoke to the students about the exam  Both of these can’t go in the complement of V position  The two PPs are interchangeable:  I spoke about the exam to the students  The evidence suggests that the first argument is higher than the second:  I spoke to the students about themselves  * I spoke to themselves about the students  But this only works with one order:  * I spoke about the students to themselves  * I spoke about themselves to the students  This suggests that the two orders have different structures

14  The antecedent not only has to be higher than the pronoun  It must be in a particular structural relationship with it:  John shaved himself  * John’s mother shaved himself  A subject can be the antecedent of the object, but a phrase inside the subject cannot  We call this relationship Command  A structural element commands its sister  and everything inside its sister  A pronoun must be commanded by its antecedent

15  Because of this, the two PP arguments cannot be arranged like this  The first DP does not command the second

16  Perhaps the structure is like this:  The goal DP is in the specifier of the ‘about’ PP  This PP is the complement of ‘to’  So the goal commands the second DP

17  It is very odd that the DP related to the preposition ‘to’ is in the specifier of ‘about’  In all other cases we have seen arguments sit in either specifier or complement of their own predicate

18  How is the other order achieved?  I spoke about the exam to the students  If ‘about the exam’ moves in front of ‘to the students, this means P’ moves  X’s don’t appear to be able to move  If ‘to the students’ moves behind ‘about themselves’, this means something that isn’t even a phrase can move  Only phrases can move

19  If what moves is the ‘about’ phrase, this must be a full PP  If this PP is in the complement of ‘to’, the goal must be in its specifier:  The right relationship between the two DPs still holds  The first DP commands the second

20  The word order is wrong!  Perhaps this represents the D-structure order and movement changes the position of ‘to’

21  In some languages, verbs and prepositions ‘fuse’ together by a process of incorporation  Kinyarwanda (Rwanda, southern Uganda)  Umugabo ya-tém-ye igití n’ úmuhoro man past-cut-asp tree with machete ‘The man cut the tree with the machete.’  Umugabo ya-tém-eesh-eje igití umuhoro man past-cut-APPL-ASP tree machete ‘The man cut the tree with the machete.’  Preposition incorporation is movement of the preposition to join the verb  Similar to a verb moving to a causative verb or tense inflection

22  When a prepositional verb passivises, the verb and the preposition cannot be separated:  He slept in the bed that night  He slept that night in the bed  the bed was slept in that night  * the bed was slept that night in  This suggest that, in this case, the verb and preposition form a single unit  i.e. The preposition incorporates into the verb

23  That prepositional verbs can passivise is very strange:  Only transitive verbs passivise in English  John was hit/seen/frightened/feared...  * it was smiled/danced/sneezed/arrived...  But most prepositional verbs allow passivisation:  The students were spoken to  The bed was slept in  The money was parted with  The target was aimed at

24  In these cases, the object of the preposition behaves like the object of the verb  The object of the verb moves in passives because the agentive verb is replaced by the passive morpheme and so the object loses it Case  Why would the object of the preposition have to move?

25  Suppose that when the preposition incorporates with the verb it can’t Case mark the goal  The goal will have to move to get Case from the agentive verb  The verb moves (with the preposition) to support the agentive verb  If the verb is passive, the goal must move further to subject to get Case

26  In the case of two PP arguments, it seems that preposition incorporation has to take place:  I spoke-to the students about the exam  * I spoke the students to about the exam  When there is one PP argument, it is difficult to tell as both structures give the same result

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29  When there is a theme, the preposition cannot incorporate:  I gave the money to John  * I gave-to the money John  This is understandable as the object of the preposition would be Caseless  It cannot get Case from the incorporated preposition  It cannot move to the object position

30  There is a well know difference between the following:  He looked up the word (in the dictionary)  He looked up the chimney  The first involves what is traditionally called a phrasal verb  A verb made up of a verb plus a ‘particle’  Incorporated preposition?

31  Several properties separate phrasal verbs from prepositional verbs:  They have idiomatic interpretations the plane took off = to become airborne he let down the whole family = to disappoint the review put off the customers = to deter This suggests that they are single lexical verbs

32  Several properties separate phrasal verbs from prepositional verbs:  They have the same stress pattern as a single verb  Normally stress falls on the second syllable of a verb  They ex’ported the wine  He a’ddressed the audience  The stress on a phrasal verb can fall on the preposition  He put ‘over his message  He let ‘down the family  Prepositional verbs do not stress the preposition  He jumped ‘over the fence (only with contrastive stress)  Again, this suggests they are single lexical items

33  Several properties separate phrasal verbs from prepositional verbs:  The preposition does not have to immediately follow the verb:  He took off his hat -he took his hat off  He looked up the word -he looked the word up  This is not possible with prepositional verbs:  he looked up the chimney -* he looked the chimney up  He ran up the hill -* he ran the hill up  This does not favour a single lexical item analysis  No other lexical item can be split up like this

34  The particle can be a whole phrase:  This put the customers [right off their food]  He took his clothes [all off]  When this is the case, the particle cannot join with the verb:  * this put right off their food the customers  * he took all off his clothes  This can be explained if phrasal verbs are formed by preposition incorporation  Only the preposition itself can incorporate with the verb

35  The obvious analysis is to treat phrasal verbs as:  Having a PP complement  Allowing the preposition to incorporate

36  This analysis is exactly the same as the one we proposed for prepositional verbs  There is a structural difference between  He looked up the word  He looked up the chimney

37  In the first case, the object is an argument of the verb (theme):  The preposition may optionally incorporate into the verb  If so, when the verb moves to support the agentive verb we get:  He looked 1 -up 2 the word t 1 t 2  If not incorporate, we get:  He looked 1 the word t 1 up

38  In the second case, the object is an argument of the preposition (location)  The preposition may optionally incorporate  But either way we get the same order when the verb moves

39  If phrasal verbs have the same analysis as prepositional verbs, why are they interpreted differently?  Perhaps they are not  Some phrasal verbs don’t have idiomatic interpretations:  He stood the ladder up(phrasal verb order) (meaning = cause to stand up)  Some prepositional verbs have idiomatic interpretations:  The police looked into the matter  * the police looked the matter into (no phrasal verb order) (meaning = investigate)

40  In general PP arguments sit in the complement of the lexical verb  The preposition may incorporate into the verb  If there a theme argument, the preposition cannot incorporate  If the verb is passivised, the preposition must incorporate  Phrasal verbs are the same as prepositional verbs  Most reported differences concern the position of the DP argument  As an argument of the verb or of the preposition


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