The Syntax of Adjuncts

The Syntax of Adjuncts

The Syntax of Adjuncts

The Syntax of Adjuncts

Synopsis

This book proposes a theory of the distribution of adverbial adjuncts in a Principles and Parameters framework, claiming that there are few syntactic principles specific to adverbials; rather, for the most part, adverbials adjoin freely to any projection. A wide range of adverbial types is analyzed; predicational adverbs (such as manner, and modal adverbs), domain expressions such as financially, temporal, frequency, duration, and focusing adverbials; participant PP's (e.g. locatives and benefactives); resultative and conditional clauses, and others, taken primarily from English, Chinese, French, and Italian, with occasional reference to others (such as German and Japanese).

Excerpt

Nobody seems to know exactly what to do with adverbs. The literature of the last 30 years in formal syntax and semantics is peppered with analyses of the distribution or interpretation (or both) of small classes of adverbs but has few attempts at an overall theory; there have been popular proposals for other phenomena based crucially on assumptions about adverbial syntax that have little or no foundation; and almost everyone who has looked at the overall landscape has felt obliged to observe what a swamp it is. The situation for the larger class of adverbials, including PPs, CPs, and other adverb-like phrases, is yet more complex and difficult. This book is intended as a response — an attempt to formulate a comprehensive theory of the distribution of adverbial adjuncts, one based on a wide range of data from the majority of semantic types of adverbials, culled from a large and diverse range of languages, and focused on accounting for the major distributional facts by means of a relatively small number of general principles, most of which are already necessary to account for other areas of syntax. Within this framework there are several specific goals.

1.1.2 Specific Goals

1.1.2.1 Base Positions and Licensing

When formal grammars standardly included Phrase Structure rules of the sort elaborated by Chomsky (1965) and other scholars of the 1960s, the free distribution of adverbs like stupidly or quickly, shown in (1.1)–(1.2), created an obvious problem: one needed rules like those shown in (1.3) to express their distribution.

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