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Title: X⁰ categories and grammatical case assignment in Finnish
Author: Nelson, Diane Carlita
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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Finnish, a heavily agglutinating language with a rich system of inflectional and derivational morphology, provides relevant data for testing predictions made by various proposals within Principles and Parameters-based syntactic frameworks, particularly Case Theory, Burzio's Generalization, and X-Bar Theory. One phenomenon which has recently attracted attention in the generative literature is the alternation in certain syntactic environments between animate pronouns in accusative case and full DP objects in nominative case, both of which may appear with partitive case morphology depending on sentential aspect and definiteness. The contexts where this alternation surfaces include impersonal passive, unaccusative, raising and imperative sentence types, where AGR fails to be coindexed with an external argument. This pattern of case assignment, where internal arguments of lexically or syntactically unaccusative verbs (i.e. single arguments of a one-place predicate) may or may not be case-coded as having the same grammatical function as objects of transitives, is typical of split-ergative (specifically Split-S) case systems. An analysis of split-ergativity is proposed which accounts for the phenomenon as the result of double case assignment of two structural case features to an internal argument. In the syntactic framework assumed, features of crosslinguistic variation generally attributed to binary parameter setting such as directionality of case assignment and the ordering of functional heads emerge as the result of language-specific lexical properties of functional categories. It is argued that several of these properties interact to yield assignment of two case features to a single argument, including the necessary assignment of nominative case by Tense/Mood and a requirement that AGR be coindexed with an external argument in order to project as a functional head.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available