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Bookmark and Share Paper 1671

Expletive and Thematic Applicatives
Effi Georgala, Waltraud Paul, and John Whitman
181-189 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper argues for a distinction between thematic and expletive applicatives: thematic applicatives introduce an additional argument above VP, while expletive applicatives serve as syntactic licensers for an argument inside VP without introducing an argument on their own. Both thus fulfill the traditional applicative role of licensing an additional DP as a core argument, but only thematic applicatives actually change the valence of the verb. Both types of applicative reside immediately above VP. Thematic applicatives correspond to the high applicative structure of Pylkkaenen (2002, in press); expletive applicatives share the function of Pylkkaenen's low applicative in that they occur with double object constructions (DOCs). But extensive morphological and syntactic evidence from languages as diverse as Bantu and Chinese shows that there is a single structural position for applicatives, immediately above VP. The same analysis provides a natural explanation of core properties of DOCs, in particular the well-known "intended transfer of possession" interpretation of the indirect object, and evidence, some of it new, that the indirect object in DOCs moves out of VP. The paper focuses in some detail on the Mandarin double object construction built on GEI 'give,' arguing that GEI is an overt expletive applicative head.

Published in

Proceedings of the 26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Charles B. Chang and Hannah J. Haynie
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00