A Novel Architecture for Pseudo-incorporation
Yağmur Sağ, Ömer Demirok, Muhammet Bal
January 2024

Pseudo-noun incorporation stands as a phenomenon that has intrigued researchers since Massam (2001) first identified it as a phenomenon distinct from noun incorporation. There is a significant debate on the syntactic architecture of verbal complexes involving pseudo-incorporation as well as the semantic functions associated with this construction. On the syntactic side, this phenomenon, often characterized by the requirement of the theme argument to be adjacent to the verb and occur without case-marking, challenges traditional notions of argument structure and raises questions about the syntactic status of thematic arguments. One of the fundamental questions pertains to how pseudo-incorporation influences the transitivity of the clause. In this paper, we seek to contribute to the ongoing debate on the syntactic and semantic status of pseudo-incorporated arguments by delving into the interaction of agent pseudo-incorporation with two cross-linguistic reflections of transitive syntax: accusative case assignment and φ-agreement with objects, through an investigation of this phenomenon in Turkish and Laz, an endangered South Caucasian language. Drawing on dependent theoretic accounts of accusative case in Turkish (Baker and Vinokurova 2010) and object agreement in Laz (Bondarenko and Zompi 2023), we argue for a unified analysis that postulates a null expletive subject in clauses with agent pseudo-incorporation. Our analysis builds upon a semantic view of pseudo-incorporation as an event kind-level argumentation process that occurs deep inside the VP (Sağ 2022, 2023). Extending the null expletive analysis to clauses with theme pseudo-incorporation as well, we build a two-layered verbal structure corresponding to argumentation at the level of event kinds (VP-internally) and canonical argumentation, which occurs at the level of event tokens (VP-externally). We position the null expletive as a semantically contentful ‘placeholder’ within the event token domain, substituting for the pseudo-incorporated argument of the event kind, thereby establishing it as a pivotal connection between the two dimensions of the event domain.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007887
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Under review in NLLT
keywords: (agent) pseudo-incorporation · event kinds · event tokens · two-layered argument structure · dependent case · dependent φ-agreement, semantics, syntax
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