Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Implicit Arguments in Nominalizations (Class Exercise)

This exercise is appropriate for an advanced undergraduate syntax course (in my case Grammatical Analysis II), or a beginning grad syntax course. The various parts of this exercise serve to bring up various discussion topics.

Background: Different Kinds of Nominalizations

a. Gerund Nominalization: running, eating, destroying the city

b. Derived Nominalization: attempt, destruction

For this part, the instructor should discuss the differences between gerund and derived nominalizations.

Part 1:  

Each student should give two or three examples of derived nominals. They should use their examples in sentences. 

For this part, the instructor should go around the class several times eliciting examples with various suffixes (not only -ion).

Part 2:

Using entailments, argue that your examples involve implicit arguments.

Example: There is an attack on the building. -->  Somebody is attacking the building.

Part 3:

Show that the implicit argument in one of the examples is syntactically present/active using the Binding Theory (Conditions A,B,C) or control of PRO or some other syntactic test.

The instructor should make sure each student gets a chance to demonstrate this kind of argumentation.

For example, consider the imperative:

a. Leave! Paraphrase: You should leave.

b. Leave [PRO to go home].      (implicit argument controls PRO)

c. Control yourself! (implicit argument binds a reflexive)

The examples in (b) and (c) show that the implicit (covert) argument in the imperative is syntactically present/active, because it can control PRO and bind a reflexive pronoun.

Part 4:

Diagram one of your examples from the previous part. You do not have to diagram the entire sentence, just the DP with the nominalization.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.