The syntax of English presentatives
Jim Wood, Raffaella Zanuttini
March 2023

In this paper, we analyze the syntax of sentences such as Here is my daughter, which we refer to as PRESENTATIVES. Presentatives turn out to have a wide range of properties that distinguish them sharply from ordinary declaratives, interrogatives, imperatives and exclamatives. Drawing on recent work on the left periphery, we develop a novel account of their syntactic structure that uses only independently proposed syntactic primitives. We argue that English presentatives involve an ordinary DP combined with two left-peripheral heads, encoding the time and location of the speaker, along with an anaphoric T head and a light verb. The resulting structure is a triple consisting of the speech time, speech location, and an entity denoted by a DP. The overall picture that emerges suggests that presentatives may constitute their own minor clause type, one which we might expect to be widely available cross-linguistically, since it is built from a particular combination of these widely available primitives. A brief survey of presentatives in languages other than English suggests that they are indeed widely available, and our analysis provides an explicit framework for detailed investigations of presentatives in other languages, which may use an overlapping, but not necessarily fully identical set of primitives.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007159
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Language
keywords: presentatives, speaker, addressee, time of utterance, location of utterance, negation, left periphery, locative inversion, clause type, english, syntax, syntax
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