Investigating Raising Structures in Turkish

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Even though the Turkish predicate gibi görün “seem”, which consists of a Postposition (gibi “like”) + Verb (görün “appear”) sequence, is analyzed as a raising predicate, there is a disagreement on the details of the raising operation. While Moore (1998) suggests that Copy-raising is observed with the predicate, Öztürk (2008) (among others) suggests that the operation observed is Standard Raising. Though they differ in the details of their analyses, these two approaches agree that the predicate gibi görün does not assign an external theta role. However, the current study reports that sentences such as (1) are acceptable (for some speakers) in Turkish. (1) [Ali [sen kazan-mış-sın] gibi görünüyor] Ali you win-PAST-2PS like seem Lit.: “Ali seems like you won.” Sentences like (1) violate the Theta Theory (Chomsky, 1981), if gibi görün is analyzed as a predicate that does not assign an external theta role. While the embedded subject gets its theta role from the embedded verb, the matrix subject is left without any theta role. This shows that the existing approaches to raising in Turkish are not able to account for sentences like (1), and a revision is needed. The existing approaches to Raising in Turkish also differ in their assumptions of (un-)acceptability of some Turkish sentences, which affects their analyses. To provide reliable Turkish data for the analysis, the current study collects relevant data from native Turkish speakers by conducting an experiment with a Contextual Acceptability Task. The results of the experiment suggest that sentences like (1) are acceptable for some Turkish native speakers, while it is unacceptable for others. The current study suggests (i) that the predicate gibi görün is lexicalized as a unit, disallowing most speakers to process gibi as a postposition anymore, (ii) Copy-Raising (of Landau (2011)) is observed in Turkish with sentences like (1), in which postposition gibi needs to be processed and the predicate is able to assign the P-source external theta role, and (iii) that inability of some speakers to decompose the lexicalized predicate gibi görün blocks them from applying the Copy-Raising (of Landau) and derive sentences like (1).
Syntax, Raising, Turkish, Experimental Syntax, Subject Raising, Copy-raising, Copy Raising, EPP, Theta Theory
Oğuz, M. (2021). Investigating Raising Structures in Turkish (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from