Nominal Modification

The Research Training Group on Nominal Modification at the Goethe University Frankfurt

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Colloquium: Fenna Bergsma

On Tuesday, October 22th at 4pm in SH 0.107, Fenna Bergsma will be giving a talk in the GK colloquium.

Title: Deriving a typology of case mismatches in free relatives


This talk focuses on case mismatches in free relatives. An example is given below. The predicate internal to the relative clause (vertraust `trust’) assigns dative case, and the predicate external to the relative clause (lade ein `invite’) assigns accusative case.

Ich lade ein wem/*wen du vertraust.I invite(acc) who.
DAT/who.ACC you trust(dat).
`I trust who you like.’

Languages differ in to what extend they allow case mismatches in their free relatives. I present a typology with four types of languages. The two factors seem to play a role are (i) case complexity and (ii) whether the case is assigned internal or external to the relative clause. I derive the issue of the case complexity by placing it directly in the syntax, following Caha 2009 in that more complex case contains less complex cases ([[[[NOM]ACC]GEN/DAT]). I am working towards deriving the internal – external issue in a similar way. However, instead of focusing on case features, I decompose the base of the free relative pronoun (what corresponds to w-) in German free relatives. I show that, within languages, there are correlations between the grammaticality pattern in the free relative construction and the morphological form of the base of the free relative pronoun.

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