Case Assignment and the Complement-Adjunct Dichotomy:

A Non-Configurational Constraint-Based Approach

Adam Przepiórkowski

Doctoral dissertation defended at the University of Tübingen, November 1999.

See the table of contents and the official publication page.


Ever since the advent of modern linguistics in the Fifties, propelled by early works of an MIT linguist, Noam Chomsky (especially, Chomsky 1957 and 1959), syntactic trees have played an important role in linguistic explanation. Different behaviour of different syntactic entities has often been explained by their differing tree-configurational positions.

The most general aim of this study is to show that the role of tree-configurationality is much less important than often assumed, and that various phenomena should rather be analysed with the help of other linguistic mechanisms. In particular, this study deals with two areas of syntax in which tree-configurationality is supposed to be directly manifested, namely, syntactic case assignment and the complement/adjunct dichotomy.

In both areas, we present formal syntactic accounts of the relevant phenomena which do not rely on tree-configurationality. In fact, we argue that, in both cases, configurationality-based analyses are at best unmotivated, and at worst empirically wrong and untenable.

The main empirical basis of this study is Polish, a West Slavic language with a number of interesting case and valency phenomena. Thus, most of the empirical results obtained below will be of particular relevance to Slavic linguistics. However, when developing the general approaches to case assignment and to the complement/adjunct dichotomy, we will briefly look at phenomena from other languages, as different as English, German, Korean and Finnish, and attempt to obtain a cross-linguistically valid theory.

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BibTeX entry:

  author = 	 "Adam Przepi{\'o}rkowski",
  title = 	 "Case Assignment and the Complement-Adjunct Dichotomy: 
                  A Non-Configurational Constraint-Based Approach",
  school = 	 "Universit{\"a}t T{\"u}bingen",
  year = 	 1999,
  address = 	 "Germany"}

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Creation Date: Sunday, December 19, 1999
Last Content Update: Monday, November 11, 2002
Last Modified: Tue Jun 7 22:19:35 CEST 2005