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Share Paper 3159

Verb Cluster Formation and the Semantics of Head Movement
Rajesh Bhatt and Stefan Keine
82-91 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


We argue that certain instances of restructuring infinitives involve verb cluster formation, the interpretation of which crucially relies on function composition. In these environments we find that material inside the embedded clause behaves as if it was outside of the scope of the embedding predicate: Quantificational elements take scope over the matrix predicate, the matrix predicate is unable to license NPIs in its syntactic scope and adjuncts within the embedded clause are construed with the matrix predicate. These effects follow from the properties of function composition. Our proposal provides an argument for function composition as a compositional primitive, albeit one whose distribution is very restricted. The proposal also argues that certain instances of head movement are semantically contentful. The data for our proposal come from restructuring in German, in particular the long passive construction.

Published in

Proceedings of the 32nd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Ulrike Steindl, Thomas Borer, Huilin Fang, Alfredo García Pardo, Peter Guekguezian, Brian Hsu, Charlie O'Hara, and Iris Chuoying Ouyang
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Printed edition: $375.00