All there is to know about the alls-construction

  • Michael T. Putnam
  • Marjo van Koppen
Original Paper


This paper pursues a minimalist analysis of the s-inflection that appears as an enclitic on the all in certain dialects of Midwestern American English; a construction called the alls -construction by Putnam & van Koppen (2009). Following Putnam & van Koppen, we demonstrate that the inter-clausal aspects of the alls-construction can be accounted for via Probe-Goal (Agree) relations similar in many respects to the generative treatment of C(omplementizer)-agreement in West Germanic languages and dialects. Regarding the intra-clausal dimension of this construction, based on the discussion of Den Dikken et al. (2000), we demonstrate that the alls-construction is most accurately described as a Type-A specificational pseudocleft. The analysis of the alls-construction developed here unites both the inter- and intra-clausal aspects of this construction in a parsimonious way.


Agree Probe-Goal relations Pseudoclefts C(omplementizer)-agreement Midwestern American English (MAE) CP-layer 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ackema, P., and A. Neeleman. 2005. Beyond morphology, Interface conditions on word formations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Akmajian, A. 1979. Aspects of the grammar of focus in English. New York: Garland.Google Scholar
  3. Bennis, H., and L. Haegeman. 1984. On the status of agreement and relative clauses in West Flemish. In Sentential complementation. Proceedings of the international conference held at UFSAL, ed. W. de Geest and Y. Putseys. Dordrecht: Foris.Google Scholar
  4. Bernstein, J. et al. 2008. One form for different features: Micro-syntactic variation in English. Paper/Handout. Linguistic Society of America.Google Scholar
  5. Bobaljik, J.D. 1995. Morphosyntax: the syntax of verbal inflection. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.Google Scholar
  6. Bobaljik, J.D. 2001. ‘Agreement domains’. Handout of a talk given at Console X, Leiden, 7–9 December, 2001.Google Scholar
  7. Bobaljik, J.D., and H. Thráinsson. 1998. Two heads aren’t always better than one. Syntax 1(1): 37–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bošković, Ž. 2007. On the locality and motivation of Move and Agree: An even more minimal theory. Linguistic Inquiry 38: 589–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carstens, V. 2002. Rethinking complementizer agreement: Agree with a case-checked Goal. Linguistic Inquiry 34(3): 393–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carter, M. 1992. LinguistList 3.131. All’s I know. (accessed August 26, 2008).
  11. Chomsky, N. 2000. Minimalist inquiries: the framework. In Step by step: Essays on minimalist syntax in honor of Howard Lasnik, ed. R. Martin et al. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Chomsky, N. 2002. Beyond Explanatory Adequacy. MIT Occasional Papers 22.Google Scholar
  13. Collins, P. 1991. Pseudo-cleft and cleft constructions: A thematic and informational interpretation. Linguistics 29: 481–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Corbett, G. 2006. Agreement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Craenenbroeck, J. van & M. van Koppen. 2002. The locality of agreement and the CP-domain. Handout, GLOW 2002, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  16. den Dikken, M., A. Meinunger, and C. Wilder. 2000. Pseudoclefts and ellipsis. Studia Linguistica 54: 41–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fortuny, J. 2008. The emergence of order in syntax. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  18. Grohmann, K. 2000. Prolific peripheries: a radical view from the left. Ann Arbor: ProQuest UMI.Google Scholar
  19. Grohmann, K. 2003. Prolific domains: on the anti-locality of movement dependencies. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  20. Haegeman, L. 1992. Theory and description in generative syntax, a case study in West Flemish. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Haider, H. 1988. Matching projections. In Constituent structure: papers from the 1987 GLOW conference, ed. A. Cardinaletti, G. Cinque, and G. Giusti, 101–122. Dordrecht: Foris.Google Scholar
  22. Herrmann, T. 2003. Relative clauses in dialects of English: a typological approach. Ph.D. dissertation, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg.Google Scholar
  23. Higgins F.R. 1979. The pseudo-cleft construction in English. Garland Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hoekstra, E. & C. Smits. 1999. Everything you always wanted to know about complementizer agreement. In: Proceedings of WECOL 19.Google Scholar
  25. Kayne, R. 1995. The Antisymmetry of syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  26. Koppen, M. van. 2005. One probe-two goals: Aspects of agreement in Dutch dialects. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Leiden.Google Scholar
  27. Law, P. 1991. Verb-movement, expletive replacement, and head government. The Linguistic Review 8: 253–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mustanoja, T. 1960. A middle English syntax. Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki XXIII. Helsinki: Société Néophilologique.Google Scholar
  29. Pesetsky, D., and E. Torrego. 2001. T-to-C movement: Causes and consequences. In Ken Hale: a life in language, ed. M. Kenstowicz, 355–426. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  30. Polinsky, M., and E. Potsdam. 2001. Long distance agreement and topic in Tsez. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 19(3): 583–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Putnam, M., and M. van Koppen. 2009. C-agreement or something close to it: the alls-construction. In Advances in Comparative Germanic Syntax, ed. A. Alexiadou, J. Hankamer, T. McFadden, J. Nuger, and F. Schäfer, 41–58. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  32. Rizzi, L. 1990. Relativized Minimality. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Rizzi, L. 1997. The fine structure of the left periphery. L.Haegeman (ed). Elements of Grammar. Kluwer. 281-337.Google Scholar
  34. Rizzi, L. 1999. On the Position "Int(errogative)" in the Left Periphery of the Clause. Manuscript, University of Sienna.Google Scholar
  35. Roussou, A. 2002. C, T, and subject: That-t phenomena revisited. Lingua 112: 13–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Teaman, B. 1992. LinguistList Re: 3.131. All’s I know. (accessed August 26, 2008).
  37. Thompson, S., and A. Mulac. 1991. A quantitative perspective on the grammaticalization of epistemic parentheticals in English. In Approaches to grammaticalization, ed. E. Traugott and B. Heine, 313–339. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  38. Williams, E. 1983. Syntactic and semantic categories. Linguistics and Philosophy 6: 423–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zwart, J-W. 1993. Dutch syntax: A minimalist approach. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Groningen.Google Scholar
  40. Zwart, J.-W. 1997. A minimalist approach to the syntax of Dutch. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Germanic & Slavic, Languages & LiteraturesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Dutch Language & CultureUtrecht University-Uil-OTSUtrechtNetherlands

Personalised recommendations