Syntactic Aspects of Topic and Comment

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The book focuses on the syntactic behavior of argument noun phrases depending on their discourse status. The main language of consideration is German, but it is shown that the observations can be carried over to other languages. The claim is that discourse-new arguments remain inside the VP where they are base generated. The hierarchy of argument projection is claimed to be fix within and across languages. With the major attention to direct objects it is then argued that discourse-old, here called topical noun phrases undergo raising to agreement projections. This movement can be realized differently: scrambling, object agreement, clitic-doubling, differences in morphological case and stress pattern turn out to be analyzable as one underlying phenomenon. It is furthermore shown that many so-called subject:object asymmetries boil down to topic:non-topic differences, for example with respect to extraction. Thus, irrespectively of the argumental status discourse-new constituents do not act as barriers whereas topical arguments create (weak) islands.
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today, 38]  2000.  xii, 245 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
ix
List of frequent abbrevations
xi
Introduction: some philosophical reflections
1
1. Discourse dependent tree splitting
11
2. The structure of the German VP
35
3. A trigger for scrambling
61
4. Agr nodes as topic hosts
103
5. The typological chapter
157
6. Notes on extraction
179
7. Conclusions
221
References
225
Name Index
239
Subject index
243
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Subjects
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  00064205