On subject reference and the cartography of clause types
- 459 Downloads
In this commentary, I will critically discuss Priyanka Biswas’ contribution to this volume (2013), in which she examines the properties of five types of clauses headed by participial verb forms in Bangla and proposes an account of their sometimes novel properties in terms of Landau (2004)’s theory of control. I will take Biswas’ empirical analysis as a starting point for a broader discussion of finiteness and the relationship between different types of embedded clauses and the kinds of subjects they allow. I will argue that the theoretical treatment Biswas herself adopts does not allow a proper explanation of the connection, and will propose a distinct approach in terms of differential clause sizes. While this approach will remain highly speculative, I will argue that it at least allows us to formulate falsifiable hypotheses with testable predictions, and thus could serve as the foundation for a truly insightful theory of the distribution of subject types.
KeywordsFiniteness Cartography Subjects Case Control Embedding Clause-size Bangla
I would like to thank Priyanka Biswas, Gillian Ramchand, Sandhya Sundaresan and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper, as well as Rajesh Bhatt, Janne Bondi Johannessen, Per Erik Solberg, Tarald Taraldsen, Susi Wurmbrand and the audience of a recent talk given at UMass Amherst for discussion of related work presented in other forms. Special thanks are also due to the participants of the FiSAL conference in Tromsø for stimulating papers and discussion, and especially to Priyanka Biswas for the careful and thought-provoking paper that led to this commentary.
- Bianchi, Valentina. 2003. On finiteness as logophoric anchoring. In Temps et point de vue/tense and point of view, eds. Jacqueline Guéron and Liliane Tasmovski, 213–246. Nanterre: Université Paris X Nanterre. Google Scholar
- Giorgi, Alessandra. 2010. About the speaker: Towards a syntax of indexicality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
- Ramchand, Gillian. 2013. Deriving variable linearization. A commentary on Simpson and Syed (2013). Natural Language & Linguistic Theory. doi: 10.1007/s11049-013-9225-5.
- Reinhart, Tanya, and Eric Reuland. 1993. Reflexivity. Linguistic Inquiry 24: 657–720. Google Scholar
- Schütze, Carson. 1997. Infl in child and adult language: Agreement, case and licensing. Doctoral Dissertation, MIT. Google Scholar
- Sigurðsson, Halldór Ármann. 2004. The syntax of person, tense and speech features. Rivista Di Linguistica 16: 219–251. Google Scholar
- Stowell, Tim. 1982. The tense of infinitives. Linguistic Inquiry 13: 561–570. Google Scholar
- Sundaresan, Sandhya. 2012. Context and (co)reference in the syntax and its interfaces. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Tromsø (CASTL)/Universität Stuttgart. Google Scholar
- Sundaresan, Sandhya, and Thomas McFadden. 2009. Subject distribution in Tamil and other languages: Selection vs. case. Journal of South Asian Linguistics 2: 5–34. Google Scholar
- Wurmbrand, Susanne. 2001. Infinitives: Restructuring and clause structure. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Google Scholar