Thursday, June 13, 2019

Best All-in-One Passive Package

I post here some links to recent papers that I have written on the passive. All these papers are written in the framework of Collins (2005). The main claim of that paper is adopted from Chomsky 1957 into modern terms: "...the external argument is merged into the structure in the passive in the same way as in the active." My recent papers explore and defend this claim. Collins (2005) and my recent papers run directly contra to most mainstream approaches to the passive (including those of Bruening, Legate and Alexiadou). Not all of the following papers are available on Lingbuzz.

Two Conceptions of VoiceP
June 2019

Abstract: In this note, I compare two distinct conceptions of VoiceP. On one conception, the external argument is projected (externally merged) into Spec VoiceP (Kratzer 1996). On the other conception, VoiceP plays no role in the projection of arguments, but determines how the arguments are realized in various A-positions. I dub these two theories the Projection Theory and the Realization Theory respectively. I present several reasons for preferring the Realization Theory.

The Theta-Criterion, UTAH and the Projection of External Arguments in the Passive.
December 2018
Abstract: In this paper, I discuss the projection of external arguments with active and passive verbs in English. I show that the options for projecting external arguments are severely limited by the Theta-Criterion.

On the Phi-Features of the Implicit Argument in the Passive
November 2018
Abstract: Using the distribution of reflexives and bound pronouns, this paper investigates the phi-features of the implicit argument of the short passive in English. I show that there are three cases: (a) null versions of generic one and you, (b) a null existential quantifier expression lacking phi-features, and (c) a null definite pro with any combination of phi-features.

Passive By-Phrases in Greek and English: Adjuncts or Arguments?
October 2018
Abstract: Alexiadou et al. (2015:35) argue that Greek by-phrases merge as adjuncts. This is assumed for English and other languages by Bruening (2013) and Legate (2014). Hasegawa (1988), Goodall (1997, 1999), Mahajan (1994) and Collins (2018), on the other hand, argue that the by-phrase merges syntactically as an argument. This paper shows that in Greek and English by-phrases behave like arguments in being able to bind non-exempt anaphors. As a consequence, we argue that external arguments (in both the passive and the active) are not generated in Spec VoiceP, but rather in Spec vP, as in Chomsky (1995).]

History of the By-Phrase in Generative Syntax (1957-2005) [Handout]
September 2018

Is the Passive by-Phrase and Adjunct?
May 2018
Abstract: A common position taken in recent literature on the passive is that by-phrases are adjuncts (Bruening 2013, Legate 2014). This paper shows that passive by-phrases differ from adjuncts in terms of binding phenomena. From these facts, I conclude that by-phrases are not adjuncts. I show that the theory of the passive in Collins 2005 accounts for the data without stipulation, unlike other recent theories of the passive.

On the Implicit Argument in the Short Passive
June 2017
Abstract: In this paper, I investigate some syntactic and semantic properties of the implicit argument in the short passive. Based on the distribution of secondary depictive predicates, I argue that the short passive contains a syntactically projected null argument. I propose that this argument can either be an ultra-indefinite in the sense of Koenig (2008) or a null version of the generic pronoun one. I analyze ultra-indefinites as DPs without phi-features. Lastly, I discuss the consequences of my conclusions for the nature of VoiceP and the status of implicit arguments generally.

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