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Lecture 6: Verbs with Clausal Arguments

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1 Lecture 6: Verbs with Clausal Arguments
Advanced Syntax

2 Introduction Many verbs allow clausal arguments We will consider:
The variety of verbs with just a clausal internal argument (= non-subject) The categorial status of various clausal internal arguments The structural position of the clausal argument in the VP Verbs with a clausal and a non-clausal internal argument

3 Verbs with clausal arguments
Different verbs subcategorise for different types of clausal arguments Declarative finite: He said [(that) we could stay]

4 Verbs with clausal arguments
Declarative non-finite With complementiser We arranged [for him to stay] With no complementiser We believed [him to be sincere] With control (PRO subject) They tried [PRO to sound sincere]

5 Verbs with clausal arguments
Interrogative finite I asked [why he stayed] I wonder [if he left] Non-finite I wondered [when to leave] I didn’t know [whether to leave]

6 Verbs with clausal arguments
Often verbs can take different types of clausal argument I know [that he is smart] I know [him to be smart] I know [who is smart] I know [when to be smart] Others are more restrictive I reckoned [that he would stay] * I reckoned [(for) (him) to stay] *I reckoned [why he stayed] I tried [PRO to stay calm] * I tried [(for) him to stay calm] * I tried [that I stayed calm] * I tried [when to stay calm]

7 Finite clause arguments
There is not much variation in verbs which take a finite clause argument The complementiser is almost always optional I think [(that) he knows]

8 Finite clause arguments
Exceptions Verbs of manner of communication He whispered/shouted/hollerd [(? that) he knows] Embedded yes-no interrogatives I wonder [(*if) he knows]

9 Finite clause arguments
We can assume that finite clauses are always CPs The complementiser is phonologically null in cases where it seems absent I think [CP e [IP he agrees]]

10 Interrogative clausal arguments
These are typically the arguments of interrogative verbs, such as ask, wonder or inquire I asked/wondered/inquired [where he lived] Some verbs take either declarative or interrogative arguments I know [that he ran away]/[why he ran away] I remember [that I fell]/[where I fell]

11 Interrogative clausal arguments
Interrogative arguments can either be finite or non-finite I wonder [if he is rich] I wonder [whether to rob him]

12 Interrogative clausal arguments
They always are introduced by a complementiser or a wh-phrase I asked [if he knows] I asked [when he found out] * I asked [he knows] I wonder [where to go] I wonder [whether to stay] * I wonder [to leave] Both complementisers and wh-phrases are part of the CP So we can conclude that interrogative clauses are always CPs

13 Non-Finite clausal arguments
Non-finite clausal arguments are much more varied than finite ones With subjects For complementiser We were hoping [for it to snow] Exceptional clauses I believe [him to be honest]

14 Non-Finite clausal arguments
Without subjects Control structures I1 attempted [PRO1 to make peace] Raising structures He1 seems [ t1 to be unharmed]

15 The categorial status of non-finite clauses
Those with complementisers are obviously CPs All others obligatorily lack complementisers: * I believe [for him to be intelligent] * I1 tried [for PRO1 to understand] * he1 seems [for t1 to be well] Why is this? Must they always have a null complementiser? Why?

16 The categorial status of Control clauses
We know that PRO can only go in ungoverned positions: * PRO left (nominative) * I saw PRO (accusative) * I spoke to PRO (accusative – prepositional) We also know that for assigns accusative Case [(*for) him to leave] was the right thing to do Therefore we have an explanation of why control clauses don’t have complementisers If they did, PRO would be governed But are they still CPs?

17 The categorial status of Exceptional clauses
What makes an exceptional verb exceptional? The Case of the subject is accusative: I believe [him to be dead] But there is no for complementiser and the infinitival inflection cannot assign Case Normally this would make the clause ungrammatical * [him to be dead] is worrying

18 The categorial status of Exceptional clauses
When exceptional verbs passivise, the subject of the infinitive clause moves He1 was believed [ t1 to be dead] Passivisation replaces the abstract verb of the passivised verb with the passive morpheme

19 The categorial status of Exceptional clauses
This shows that the Case of the exceptional subject comes from the abstract verb of the exceptional verb I believe-e [him to be dead] The passive morpheme cannot assign Case, so the subject must move * it was believ-ed [ him to be dead]

20 The categorial status of Exceptional clauses
Thus exceptional verbs have the ability to Case mark the subject of their non-finite clause argument But this kind of Case assignment cannot happen in non-exceptional cases – even with exceptional verbs: * I believe-e [that him is dead]

21 The categorial status of Exceptional clauses
One account of this would be that exceptional Case marking cannot happen through a CP We could say that CP counts as an impenetrable barrier to government If this is so, there can be no CP with exceptional verb clausal arguments (they are IPs only)

22 The categorial status of Exceptional clauses
If there is no CP barrier, the external abstract verb can assign Case to the subject This would be similar to the way the for complementiser assigns Case to the infinitival subject

23 Reprieve - The categorial status of control clauses
It follows from this that control clauses are CPs If they were not, their subjects would be Case marked and PRO would not be able to appear The CP barrier protects PRO from government

24 Summary - The categorial status of non-finite clauses
CP IP Overt subject For clause Exceptional clause Covert subject Control clause Are raising clauses IPs or CPs? They never have for complementisers * It seems [for him to be rich] They are very similar to passivised exceptional clauses He1 was believed [ t1 to be rich] He1 seemed [ t1 to be rich]

25 Summary - The categorial status of non-finite clauses
CP IP Overt subject For clause Exceptional clause Covert subject Control clause Raising clauses These observations argue that they are IPs

26 The structural position of clausal arguments
Although clausal arguments can appear with other (internal) arguments, they never appear with themes I promised him [that I would stay] (goal) It seems to me [that he was lying] (experiencer) I know the answer (theme) I know [that the answer is 42] * I know the answer [that it is 42] This would argue that clausal arguments go in the theme position Specifier of the lexical verb

27 Finite clausal argument position
As with the analysis of transitive verbs, the verb will move to support the abstract verb The external argument will move to subject to get Case As this example involves a finite subordinate clause, all DPs inside it get Case from internal sources

28 Exceptional clausal argument Position
This structure helps to understand the Case marking processes with exceptional verbs IP is not a barrier to government So the abstract verb can Case mark the subject The lexical verb and the external argument move, as usual

29 Passivisation of exceptional verbs
In the passive version, the abstract verb is replaced by the passive morpheme, which does not assign Case The infinitive subject therefore has to move The lexical verb moves to support the passive morpheme

30 Raising structures Raising works in a very similar way
A raising verb has no external argument So there is no abstract verb to assign Case to the infinitival subject So this must move The raising verb moves to support inflection or aspectual morphemes

31 clausal arguments + others
There can be other internal arguments at the same time as a clausal argument These can be: DPs I promised [DP John] [that I would stay] PPs I said [PP to Mary] [that John is a fool] Notice that the clause is always behind the other arguments: * I promised that I would stay John *? I said that John was a fool to Mary

32 DP + clausal Arguments The DP argument preceding the clause is typically a goal or recipient I told Mary that she could wait I asked him what to do I persuaded him to eat We know from the double object construction that these arguments are specifiers of abstract verbs below the agentive verb and above the lexical verb

33 DP + clausal Arguments As the clausal argument is in specifier of the lexical verb, it will follow the DP argument The verb will move to the highest abstract verb The external argument will move to subject

34 PP + clausal arguments When a PP argument accompanies a clausal argument, the clause follows The PP can represent a range of arguments I said to Mary that she should wait goal I arranged with Bill that he would stay recipient It looked to me that he was happy experiencer The problem is that we have seen that the usual PP position is complement of the lexical verb If the clausal argument is in specifier of this verb, it should precede the PP

35 PP + clausal arguments Bill shouted to Mary to stop
?? Bill shouted to stop to Mary

36 Extraposition Recall that both PPs and clauses can undergo a movement to the back of the clause: A man t1 arrived [with a suit case]1 The man t1 just left [who I was telling you about]1 Moreover, ‘heavy’ DPs also undergo this movement: Bill arrested t1 last week [every drug dealer John had contacted]1

37 Extraposition Perhaps the order between the PP and clausal arguments is due to a backward movement of the clause Why would this happen? Perhaps because clauses are ‘heavier’ than PPs they prefer the final position Evidence With a heavy PP the order is reversible: I shouted [to stop] [to everyone that would listen to me]

38 Exceptional clauses and extraposition
Exceptional clauses never undergo extraposition: I believed with conviction [that he was honest] * I believed with conviction [him to be honest] This shows that the accusative subject must be adjacent to the verb which assigns Case to it

39 Exceptional clauses and extraposition
This is called the ‘adjacency condition’ on Case assignment Apparently, it only applies to accusative Case: He obviously will win

40 Conclusion Clausal arguments can be CPs Or IPs All finite clauses
All interrogative clauses Some non-finite clauses With for complementiser Control clauses (PRO subject) Or IPs Exceptional clauses Raising clauses

41 Conclusion Clausal arguments occupy the theme position
Specifier of the lexical verb They follow all other internal arguments DPs – because these are the arguments of abstract verbs which precede the lexical verb PPs – because clauses are heavier and undergo extraposition

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