This paper discusses 'get'-passives in Germanic languages, with a focus on Icelandic, and proposes an explanation for the generalization that Germanic languages have a word meaning 'get/come to have' that can combine with a DP as well as with a small clause headed by a passive participle. The authors propose that 'get' is the contextually conditioned spellout of a little v head in the context of an Appl(icative) head. Once 'get DP' is possible, the semantic and morphophonological interfaces have all they need to handle a structure where the functional heads spelling out as 'get' are added on top of a PassiveP small clause. The authors further suggest that, sometimes, languages may differ in the spellout rules assigned to the same syntactic structure, rather than differing in the availability of the structures themselves. For example, some structures leading to the spellout of 'get' in English will spell out as koma 'come' in Icelandic. Finally, the authors provide cross-linguistic evidence that English get-passives are multiply ambiguous, even beyond what has already been proposed in the literature.
Proceedings of the 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Robert E. Santana-LaBarge
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