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Share Paper 2690

The Syntax of be like Quotatives
William Haddican, Eytan Zweig, and Daniel Ezra Johnson
81-89 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper proposes an account of some properties of be like quotative constructions in English. In particular we make two main claims. First, in the spirit of Rothstein's (1999) proposal for adjectival predicates of copula be, we propose that eventive direct speech interpretations of be like quotatives are derived via a coercion mechanism akin to those that make count readings out of mass nouns in the nominal domain. Second, adapting a proposal for be like originally made by Kayne (2007), we propose that some exceptional syntactic properties of be like as a quote introducer in English are explained as a consequence of a null something quantifier which takes a like-headed PP as its complement. We compare English be like quotatives with innovative zoiets van quotative constructions in Dutch, which contain an overt 'something' quantifier and behave similarly in certain respects.

Published in

Proceedings of the 29th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Jaehoon Choi, E. Alan Hogue, Jeffrey Punske, Deniz Tat, Jessamyn Schertz, and Alex Trueman
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00