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Selection at the interfaces

English title Selection at the interfaces
Applicant Ihsane Tabea
Number 146699
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Département de Linguistique Faculté des lettres Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Romance languages and literature
Start/End 01.01.2014 - 31.07.2017
Approved amount 398'135.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Romance languages and literature
German and English languages and literature

Keywords (7)

Selection; Syntax; Lexicon; Interfaces; Clausal complements; Nominal complements; Semantics

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Les mécanismes de sélection entre un verbe et son complément, que celui-ci soit nominal (dire [un secret]) ou phrasal (dire [que Jean est là]), sont complexes. Dans le cadre de la grammaire générative (Chomsky 1957, 1995), cette question est débattue depuis près d’un demi-siècle (cf. Chomsky 1965, Pesetsky 1982, Grimshaw 1979). L’approche que nous proposons, combinant des aspects syntaxiques, sémantiques et lexicaux, apportera un éclairage nouveau, original et global sur cette problématique.
Lay summary

Le but de la recherche proposée est d’arriver à une compréhension globale du processus de sélection entre un prédicat et son complément. Pour y parvenir, nous allons examiner les compléments nominaux  (dire [un secret]) et phrasaux (dire [que Jean est là]) afin de déterminer (i) leur structure (syntaxe), (ii) la relation de sens qu’ils ont avec d’autres éléments de leur environnement (sémantique), ainsi que (iii) ce qui est encodé dans les mots impliqués (lexique), dans le cadre de la Grammaire Générative (Chomsky 1957, 1965, 1995) et dans une approche trans-langagière.

Dans cette perspective, des éléments tels que ‘that’ (ce, que) sont particulièrement intéressants puisqu’ils apparaissent dans différents types de compléments :

(1)         a.     I like [that].                                    ‘J’aime cela’.

             b.     I like [the things that you do].           ‘J’aime les choses que tu fais’.

             c.     I like [that you are doing this].            ‘J’aime que tu  fasses cela’.

La question est de savoir s’il est possible d’analyser ‘that’ de manière unifiée, notamment en assimilant le pronom relatif (1b) au démonstratif (1a), et les compléments phrasaux (1c) aux relatives illustrées en (1b). Cela implique de déterminer la forme et la structure de ces compléments, le rôle du complémenteur, par rapport à celui des déterminants. En effet, il a été proposé que ces derniers ‘clôturent’ les arguments nominaux (Higginbotham 1985), comme les complémenteurs ‘clôturent’ les arguments phrasaux (Chierchia 1995). De manière générale, ces questions nous conduiront à explorer la suggestion que plus un argument est structurellement ‘petit’ (syntaxe), plus il est sémantiquement proche du prédicat qui le sélectionne (Ihsane 2008).
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 12.11.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
A New Outlook of Complementizers
Shim Ji Young, Ihsane Tabea (2017), A New Outlook of Complementizers, in Languages, 2, 1-18.
Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars
Parafita Couto M. Carmen, Shi Ji Young, Ihsane Tabea (ed.) (2017), Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars, MDPI, Basel.
English Overt and Null Complementizers
Shim Ji Young, Ihsane Tabea (2017), English Overt and Null Complementizers, in Studies in Generative Grammar, 27.3, 515-534.
Introducing the Special Issue: Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars
Shim Ji Young, Ihsane Tabea, Parafita Couto M. Carmen (2017), Introducing the Special Issue: Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars, in Languages, 2, 1.
On the Category of Tunisian Object Marking FI
PallottinoMargherita (2017), On the Category of Tunisian Object Marking FI, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Facts: The interplay between the Matrix Predicate and its Clausal Complement.
Shim Ji Young, Ihsane Tabea (2015), Facts: The interplay between the Matrix Predicate and its Clausal Complement., in Newcastle and Northumbria Working Papers in Linguistics, 21(1), 130-144.
“feš taqra?” What are you reading? Prepositional objects in Tunisian Arabic
Pallottino Margherita, “feš taqra?” What are you reading? Prepositional objects in Tunisian Arabic, in Brill’s Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics, 8(2), 286-312.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University of Leiden, Maria del Carmen Parafita Couto Netherlands (Europe)
- Publication
CUNY Graduate Center, Prof. Marcel den Dikken United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Ghent University, Prof. Liliane Haegeman Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Séminaire de Recherche de l UMR 7023 SFL, Université Paris VIII Individual talk Tunisian Objects: differentially marked or differently marked? 18.09.2017 Université Paris VIII, France Pallottino Margherita;
Deuxième journée du Réseau thématique Langage et Communication Poster DOM in Tunisian Arabic 14.09.2017 Université de Genève, Switzerland Pallottino Margherita;
27 Colloquium on Generative Grammar Talk given at a conference Reanalysis of Overt and Null Complementizers 17.05.2017 Universidad de Alcalá, Madrid, Spain Ihsane Tabea; Shim Ji Young;
Research Seminar in Linguistics Individual talk “feš taqra?” What are you reading? Prepositional objects in Tunisian Arabic 04.10.2016 University of Geneva, Switzerland Pallottino Margherita;
9th Days of Swiss Linguistics (9DSL) Talk given at a conference Where is my complementizer? 29.06.2016 University of Geneva, Switzerland Ihsane Tabea; Shim Ji Young;
Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammar Talk given at a conference The Unbearable Lightness of Being a ɸ-incomplete D 27.06.2016 University of Geneva, Switzerland Shim Ji Young; Ihsane Tabea;
Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE), Workshop 'Aspect vs. verbal and nominal valency' Talk given at a conference Genericity and aspect in Italian 02.09.2015 Leiden, Netherlands Ihsane Tabea; Pallottino Margherita;
Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE), Main Session Talk given at a conference Clausal Complements in Verbal and Nominal Domains 02.09.2015 Leiden, Netherlands Ihsane Tabea; Shim Ji Young;
The Syntax of the Arabics Talk given at a conference feš taqra?” What are your reading? Prepositional progressive in Tunisian Arabic 28.08.2015 Genève, Switzerland Pallottino Margherita;
ACED 17 Talk given at a conference Characterising Genericity: how bare plural objects affect the generic interpretation 04.06.2015 Bucarest, Romania Pallottino Margherita; Ihsane Tabea;
ACED 17 Talk given at a conference From Complementizer Deletion to Subject Extraction: a cross-linguistic perspective 04.06.2015 Bucarest, Romania Ihsane Tabea; Shim Ji Young;
Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics 11 (WAFL11) Talk given at a conference Complementizer Deletion, Subject Extraction, and Beyond 04.06.2015 York, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Shim Ji Young; Ihsane Tabea;
41st Incontro di Grammatica Generativa Poster Characterizing habituality: direct objects effects on the generic interpretation 26.02.2015 Perugia, Italy Pallottino Margherita;
The Asian and European Linguistic Conference Talk given at a conference Facts: The Interplay Between the Matrix Predicate and Its Clausal Complement 05.12.2014 Newcastle, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Shim Ji Young; Ihsane Tabea;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
126861 Une étude comparative des propriétés syntaxiques du subjonctif 01.02.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)
167034 Clausal and nominal complements in monolingual and bilingual grammars 01.06.2016 Scientific Conferences

Abstract

The aim of the project is to examine nominal (say [a word]) and clausal complements (say [that John is happy]) in order to determine (i) their structure (syntax), (ii) the meaningful link between these constituents and their structural environment (semantics) and (iii) what is encoded in the lexical items involved (lexicon). The proposed research will be realised in the framework of Generative Grammar (Chomsky 1957, 1965, 1981, 1995). It focuses on selection, a question debated in the literature for nearly half a century (c.f. e.g. Chomsky 1965, Pesetsky 1982, Grimshaw 1979). However, the strength and originality of the project is that it tackles this phenomenon from three perspectives, an interface approach which will allow us to identify what sentential and nominal complements have in common and what differentiates them. What we will explore is the claim that selection is semantically determined (Rochette 1988) and that it is lexical semantics which determines the complement which is available. This means that selection has to be closely related to the interpretation of the matrix predicate and to the characteristics of the matrix clause in general (sometimes tense, presence of negation…). For example, the factive reading of clausal complements (i.e. the assertion of the truth of the selected clause) cannot always be attributed to the complementiser or/and the matrix predicate only. Other clausal elements might be involved. This is the case of Greek.Another line of analysis we will develop concerns elements like that in English. What we will do is determine whether the examples below can be unified at least to some extent.(1)a. I like [that].b.I like [the things that you do].c.I like [that you are doing this].What we will investigate is whether that-complement clauses can be assimilated to relative clauses associated with a null head. More generally, the form and the structure of complements, the role of complementisers and determiners will be studied. Indeed, determiners have been claimed to ‘close off’ nominal arguments (Higginbotham (1985) and so have complementisers for the clause (Chierchia 1995). More generally, what we will explore is the suggestion that the ‘smaller’ the argument (syntax), the closer it is semantically to the predicate selecting it (Ihsane 2008). The planned research will contribute to the understanding of selection, of both nominal and clausal complements, as we will address important semantic issues (what is the meaningful link between these complements and their structural environment?), as well as questions related to the lexicon (what is encoded in the lexical items involved?). It will thus allow us to reach a global understanding of the mechanisms involved in selection.
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