Re: copula-less sentences

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Tania Avgustinova (tania@coli.uni-sb.de)
Tue, 29 Sep 1998 10:02:26 +0200


Hi Steve, >1. [that man] [doctor] "that man is a doctor" >2. [that man] [very rich] "that man is very rich" >3. [John] [at school] "John is at school" >etc. There are further copula-less sentences where no SUBJ seems to be directly involved, e.g., in Russian: 4. [in forest] [dark(ly)] "it is dark in the forest" 5. [to-John] [cold(ly)] "John is (feeling) cold" >we could just posit the HEAD value 'pred' alongside noun, verb, etc.; in >the predicative variant the head words are all [HEAD pred]. Then sentences >1-3 would be PredP's. Russian grammar tradition extensively uses the notion of "predicative words" for this type of constructions anyway :-) >Another possibility is a 'constructional' approach in which 1-3 are >headless and the construction does all the work. Or posit an empty >functional head (Infl or something similar) as in GB. To me, a construction-based approach seems to be more promising. Note that in non-present tense (at least in Russian) a copula normally occurs. This would allow for the necessary generalisations, I think. Best, Tania


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