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SYNTAX AND THEMATICS OF INFINITIVAL ADJUNCTS

CHARLES FOSTER JONES, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Abstract

This dissertation is primarily about purpose clauses in English, those apparently infinitival expressions that English speakers include^ in their sentences to indicate that something has been done for some reason. (UNFORMATTED TABLE FOLLOWS)^ (1) They brought John along in order to talk to him .^ (2) They brought John along to talk about himself to^ the students .^ (3) They brought John along to talk to .^(TABLE ENDS)^ In Chapter I we will establish that the infinitives in (1)-(3) are indeed adjuncts, that they cannot in general be selected by lexical properties of the head verbs of their sentences. In Chapter 2, within the general framework of the theory of Government and Binding (cf. Chomsky (1981)), we will take up two matters. First, we will argue that differing syntactic properties of the infinitives in (1)-(3) follow rather naturally if we consider the infinitive in (1) to be a full S', that in (2) to be a simple S, and that in (3) a bare VP. The other matter we will take up in Chapter II will be the conditions under which the unexpressed elements in the infinitives in (1)-(3) can be considered to be referen- tially dependent on other NP elements in the matrix sentence. This referential dependence we call control. Control of these adjuncts is determined by a couple of conditions. The nature of the controlling NP can be characterized within the theories of thematic relations ((THETA)-roles) developed by Gruber (1965) and Jackendoff (1972) et seq. The nature of the conditions under which the adjuncts in (1)-(3) can adjoin can only be characterized by such "extra-thematic" notions as "availability" and "agentivity". In Chapter III we will suggest an account of the possibilities of extraction from the above infinitives.^ In Chapter IV we will shift our attention principally to the kind of^ infinitive in (4), which we'll call an easy-infinitive (EI), and the rela- tion that sentences like (4) have to sentences like (5). (UNFORMATTED TABLE FOLLOWS)^ (4) That test was easy to do .^ (5) It was easy to do that test.^(TABLE ENDS)^ The properties of the EI in (4) are virtually identical to the properties of the infinitive sporting an object gap in (3). I suggest they be iden- tified. In Chapter V, we'll briefly consider how the present account might be incorporated into a couple of other theories of syntax, Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar and Lexical-Functional Grammar. ^

Subject Area

Language, Linguistics

Recommended Citation

CHARLES FOSTER JONES, "SYNTAX AND THEMATICS OF INFINITIVAL ADJUNCTS" (January 1, 1985). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. Paper AAI8602647.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI8602647

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