Principles of Argument Structure: A Merge-Based Approach
Chris Collins
November 2022

In this monograph, I argue for a Merge-based theory of argument structure based on the Argument Criterion/Theta-Criterion, a principle of UG. Using Principles A and B of the Binding Theory, the distribution of Helke expressions and secondary predicates, I show that the implicit argument of the short passive in English is syntactically projected. I situate these empirical results in a general theory of implicit arguments. Similarly, I argue that the by-phrase in the passive is externally merged in the same position as the external argument in the active. I show that my analysis is superior empirically to analyses which do not adopt the Argument Criterion/Theta-Criterion. Lastly, I discuss the consequences of the Merge-based theory for the dative alternation, for the conception of voice in syntactic theory, and for the role of formal semantics in a theory of argument structure. Noam Chomsky: "This carefully argued inquiry develops an original and persuasive Merge-based approach to fundamental questions about the syntactic foundations of semantic interpretation. A very valuable contribution to central issues in the study of language."
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006409
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: not published
keywords: merge, theta-criterion, passive, implicit arguments, by-phrase, voicep, dative alternation, syntax
previous versions: v1 [December 2021]
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