Indefinite und ihre Plazierung im Mittelfeld

Werner Frey

Es gibt eine Reihe von Thesen zum Zusammenhang von Positionierung einer indefiniten Phrase und ihrer Interpretation. Einige davon sind problematisch.
Das Papier argumentiert zunächst gegen die Annahme, die ‘starke’ Lesart einer indefiniten Phrase sei abhängig von Scrambling (contra Diesing (1992), de Hoop (1992)).

(1) a. Hans möchte heute (irgend)wem einen (bestimmten) Artikel zeigen
b. In diesem Ministerium benachteiligt wer Linguisten

In (1) stehen die spezifische interpretierte Akkusativ-NP bzw. der generisch interpretierte nackte Plural in Grundposition. Da andererseits ‘schwach’ inter-pretierte Indefinite scrambeln können (contra Diesing (1997), Choi (1999), Lenerz (1999)):

(2) Hans möchte heute (irgend)ein Lied / Lieder (irgend)einer Frau vorsingen

ist die ‘starke’ Lesart auch keine notwendige Bedingung von Scrambling.
Ein anderer behaupteter Zusammenhang ist der zur Topikalität: ‘Starke’ Indefinite sind Topiks (z.B. von Fintel (1994)). Ich möchte diese These problematisieren., indem ich zu zei-gen versuche, daß für (‘aboutness’-)Topiks tatsächlich zutrifft, daß sie im Mittelfeld in eine hohe Position bewegt werden müssen (Frey (2000)), was für ‘starke’ Indefinite per se nicht gilt, s.o. Es gilt aber, daß topikale indefinite Phrasen ‘stark’ interpretiert werden:

(3) da [Topik zwei Lieder] erfreulicherweise ein Kollege einer Dame vorsingen möchte

Diese schwächere Abhängigkeit folgt bereits daraus, daß eine indefinite NP, die außerhalb der Domäne der thematischen Verwaltung der Verbargumente (Argument-Prädikat-Domäne) steht, nicht ‘schwach’ interpretiert werden kann:

(4) a. weil (ja doch / erfreulicherweise) Lieder ein Kollege einer Dame vorsingen möchte (‘Lieder’ nur generisch)
b. da (ja doch / erfreulicherweise) zwei Lieder ein Kollege einer Dame vorsingen möchte ('zwei Lieder' nur 'stark')

Die Argument-Prädikat-Domäne wird in (4) nach oben begrenzt durch die Grundposition des Subjekts. (Man beachte aber, daß in der Argument-Prädikat-Domäne durchaus auch bestimmte Adverbiale (z.B. lokale) ihre Grundposition haben.)
Damit ergibt sich die folgende Kartographie: (Indefinite) Topiks stehen in einem zu cha-rakterisierenden hohen Bereich des Mittelfeldes. ‘Schwach’ interpretierte Indefinite stehen ausschließlich in der strukturell niederen Argument-Prädikat-Domäne. Dazwischen gibt es einen weiteren Bereich, der Phrasen enthält, die die Argument-Prädikat-Domäne verlassen haben, ohne topikal zu sein. ‘Starke’ Indefinita können in allen drei Bereichen auftreten.
Der Zusammenhang zwischen den genannten Posi-tions--regu-la-ritäten und der Interpretation soll unter Rekurs auf eine Theorie von Indefinita als (parametrisierte) Auswahlfunktionen (Heusinger (1997)) untersucht werden.

Choi, H.-W. (1999): Optimizing Structure in Context – Scrambling and Information Structure. Standford: CSLI Publications.
Diesing, M. (1992): Indefinies. Cambridge/Mass.: MIT Press.
Diesing, M. (1997): Yiddish VP Order and the Typology of Object Movement in Germanic. NLLT 15.2
von Fintel, K. (1994): Restrictions on Quantifier Domains. Ph.D. Diss. U Mass, Amherst.
Frey, W. (2000): Über die syntaktische Position der Satztopiks im Deutschen. Ms.
Heusinger, K.v. (1997): Salienz und Referenz. Der Epsilonoperator in der Semantik der Nominalphrase und anaphorischer Pronomen. Berlin: Akademia Verlag (= studia grammatica 43).
de Hoop, H. (1992): Case and Configurationality. Ph. D. Dissertation, Univ. Groningen.
Lenerz, J. (1999): Word order variation: Competition or Co-operation? Ms., Universität Köln.

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Given indefinites?

Bart Geurts (University of Nijmegen & Humboldt University, Berlin)

Since there are quite compelling similarities between specific indefinites, on the one hand, and definites and other presupposition-inducing expressions, on the other, it is tempting to
somehow assimilate the former phenomenon to the latter. This, I take it, is what underlies various attempts at arguing that specific indefinites present information as given, in some sense or other. For example, it has been claimed that specific indefinites "refer" to objects that are known to the speaker (though not to the hearer), or that they just are presuppositional expressions. In my talk I will review a number of such arguments, and try to show that they are all wanting, empirically as well as theoretically, and suggest instead that the best strategy for capturing the similarities between specificity and definiteness is not by reducing the former to the latter but by subsuming them both under a more general heading, which I call "backgrounding".

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Clausal Tripartition, Anti-Locality and Preliminary Considerations of a Formal Approach to Clause Types

Kleanthes K. Grohmann (ZAS Berlin)

Locality conditions on movement dependencies are an integral part of any generative grammar. We commonly understand those to express some sort of distance requirement, formulated in terms of an upper bound. In technical terms, locality translates roughly into a Shortest Move/Minimal Link condition (Chomsky 1993), or some other way capturing Relativized Minimality (Rizzi 1990). Interestingly, a lower bound on dependencies formed by
movement has not yet been considered in the literature. I set out to do exactly that and investigate potential movement steps in the derivation that are ruled out. The route of explanation is one in terms of anti-locality, namely that movement cannot be too local. The evaluation metric to formulate anti-locality hinges on a view of clause structure that allows natural boundaries, and the particular partition endorsed here is one that has been tacitly assumed for a long time and recently been advocated as such on independent grounds (Rizzi 1997, Platzack 1999): clauses can be split into three Prolific Domains, (i) the theta-domain (thematic relations), (ii) the phi-domain (agreement relations), (iii) the omega-domain (discourse relations). Roughly, these Domains correspond to (the finer structure embedded under) vP, TP and CP, respectively. Aside from motivating this partition empirically and conceptually, the proposal explores the Condition on Domain Exclusivity (CDE), which basically bans movement of one XP within the same Prolific Domain. This ban will be expressed in terms of a PF requirement and certain violations can be rescued by spelling out the lower copy as a pronoun. The empirical domains considered are local anaphors and types of left dislocation. Aside from theoretical motivation and first empirical support for the particular partition of clause structure, I will sketch a possible approach to integrate a theory of clause types and sentence mood into the present framework.

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Specificity and Definiteness in Sentence and Discourse Structure

Klaus von Heusinger, Universität Konstanz

The paper argues against the traditional picture that take specificity as a subcategorization of indefinite NPs (cf. Givón 1978, 293). According to this view, definite NPs are used if both the speaker and hearer can identify the referent, specific indefinite NPs express that the speaker, but not the hearer can identify the referent, while non-specific indefinite indicate that none of them can identify the referent:

identified by
definite indefinite spec. indefinite
speaker + + -
hearer + - -

However, definiteness (and specificity) can not be reduced to the concept of identification, as it is illustrated by the definite NP to the disobedient and the doors in the two fragments (1) and (2), both from the novel "The Name of Rose" of Umberto Eco.
It will be argued that definiteness expresses the discourse pragmatic property of familiarity (Heim 1982, Kamp 1981), while specificity mirrors a more fine-grained structure of the items used in the discourse. A specific NP indicates that the item is referentially anchored to another discourse object, and therefore, inherits the scopal properties of its anchor (among other properties). The talk will elaborate this hypothesis.

(1) [...] sometimes orders given to the simple-minded have to be reinforced with a threat, a suggestion that something terrible will happen to the disobedient, perforce something supernatural. A monk, on the contrary..." (33)

(2) William asked him whether he would be locking the doors.
"There are no doors that forbid access to the scriptorium from the kitchen and the refectory, or to the library from the scriptorium. (85)

(3) The fact is, Benno said, he had overheard a dialogue between Adelmo and Berengar in which Berengar, referring to a secret Adelmo was asking him to reveal, proposed a vile barter, which even the most innocent reader can imagine. (137)

(4) The day before, Benno had said he would be prepared to sin in order to procure a rare book. (183)

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About the Referential Status of Split DPs

Hanneke van Hoof (Uni Tübingen)

It is well-known that indefinite noun phrases can have different interpretations, like the existential, generic or specific reading, and that the possible interpretations depend on their syntactic and semantic context as well as on the information structure of the sentence, as I will argue.
I would like to focus on the possible interpretations of indefinite split DPs as generated by `Split-DP Topicalization' (DP-ST), a syntactic construction that occurs in some varieties of German and Dutch (cf. (1)).
In DP-ST, an embedded part of an indefinite noun phrase becomes extracted to the initial field (`Vorfeld') and has always a rising pitch accent. Van Hoof (2000) proposes that a (fronted) constituent with a rise must be interpreted as a contrastive focus if it induces a contrastive (adversative) implicature and has to be interpreted as a contrastive topic otherwise. The general meaning of the rise can be characterized as a grammatical marker which signals a subset anaphor Y of a salient discourse referent X. Van Hoof argues that in contrast to contrastive focuses, contrastive topics must be instantiated by a referential expression.
It is obvious that the fronted noun phrase in DP-ST cannot have the existential or specific reading. It is always interpreted in a universal way. In addition, as noted by Van Geenhoven (1998), the split
DPs are not in a partitive relation, i.e.\ (1) cannot be interpreted as `he wants to have no kids out of a particular set of kids that has been established by the previous context'. According to Van Geenhoven, the non-availability of the partitive reading follows if the preposed noun phrase in DP-ST is interpreted as a property, in analogy to the interpretation of incorportated nouns in West-Greenlandic. Since it denotes a property rather than a variable, it cannot be associated with a presupposed set. But as pointed out by Cohen (1999), this proposal is at odds with the general assumption that topics must be presupposed. Cohen suggests that the preposed splitted DP has a generic reading instead. Since generics refer to a presupposed kind as a whole and not to a previously established set, the absence of the partitive reading can also be derived by this account.
However if DP-ST is analyzed as a multiple focus construction, Van Geenhoven's property analysis might still be on the right track. I will show that although DP-ST behaves as a multiple focus construction very often, at least some dialects also allow for split DP utterances in which a contrastive implicature is not obligatory (cf. (2)).
With respect to the preposed splitted noun phrase, different kinds of generic analyses will be discussed and it will be shown that the interpretation of the remnant noun phrase depends on the focus-structure of the sentence, too.

(1) KINDER_{i} möchte er [\KEINE [e_{i}]] haben (aber Haustiere schon)
kids would-like he none to-have (but pets AFF)
`as for kids, he wouldn't like to have some (but pets, he would)'
(2) Er mag schon kleine Wesen, dennoch: /KINDER möchte er keine HABEN
he likes AFF small creatures, nevertheless: Kids would-like he none to-have
`He does like small creatures, but nevertheless: as for kids, he would not like to HAVE some'

Cohen (1999): Review article of Van Geenhoven (1998), in: Linguistics 37.4.
Hoof,Hanneke van (2000): `The Rise in the Rise-Fall Contour: Does it Evoke a Contrastive Topic or a Contrastive Focus?', ms. university of Tübingen.*Van Geenhoven, Veerle (1998): Semantic Incorporation and Indefinite Descriptions: Semantic and Syntactic Aspects of Noun Incorporation in West Greenlandic. Stanford: CSLI.

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Exclamative Clauses at the Syntax/Semantics Interface

Paul Portner & Raffaella Zanuttini

Exclamative clauses exhibit a structural diversity which raises the question of whether they form a clause type in the sense of Sadock & Zwicky (1985). Based on data from English, Italian, and Paduan, we argue that the class of exclamatives is syntactically characterizable in terms of a pair of abstract syntactic properties. Moreover, we propose that these properties encode two components of meaning which uniquely dene the semantics and pragmatics of exclamatives. Overall, our paper is a contribution to the study of the syntax/semantics interface and offers a new perspective on the notion of clause type.

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