Event structure and syntax: German*

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University of Calgary
This paper deals with the role of the lexicon versus the syntax in event structure by examining particle verb formation in German. There are two types of particles in German: Delimiting particles, which derive accomplishments or activities from activity base verbs, and nondelimiting ones, which leave the aspectual class of the base verb (activity) unchanged. A theory such as Ritter & Rosen (1998, to appear), which explicitly represents event structure in the syntax (e.g., through an FF-delimitation) is not able to account for the German facts, as it cannot explain the uniform morphosyntactic behavior of all particles. An analysis which combines syntactic structure (VP-shells, following Hale & Keyser (1994), Chomsky (1995)) and lexical features is adapted. It treats particles as heads of an empty PP in the lower VP. Delimiting particles are distinguished from nondelimiting ones through a lexical feature [+delim]. This analysis is also successful in providing homogeneous case-marking for all internal arguments. It questions Ritter & Rosen's purely syntactic analysis of event structure, where delimitation is assumed to be a grammatical primitive.
Linguistics, German language, Syntax, Grammar, Comparative and general--Verb, Morphology, Distinctive features (Linguistics), Grammar, Comparative and general--Aspect
Wilhelm, A. (1999). Event structure and syntax: German*. Calgary Working Papers in Linguistics, 21(Winter), 44-65.