This paper investigates the phenomena of obligatory object preposing in Taiwanese Southern Min (TSM) and Hakka. We first refute the previous treatment of having the information-structural theory as an exclusive account of TSM and Hakka obligatory object preposing and show that telicity is another important dimension to object prespoing in the two languages. In particular, object preposing always takes place when a given verb bears a designated telicity marker, independent of the referential and information structural properties of its object. Consistent with recent work on the syntax of lexical aspect that telic readings are reflected in certain syntactic configurations, we suggest that in TSM and Hakka, telicity involves feature checking of the verb and its objects in the checking domain of a functional projection InAspP. For a theme argument to be able to measure out an event, it must enter an Agree relationship with the [telic] feature in InAsp, which has the edge property that triggers movement of the theme to its specifier. The proposed aspectual structure is further supported by distributional and interpretational properties including object preposing asymmetry, height of interpretation site of ambiguous adverbials, as well as the distribution of time-frame adjuncts and durative adjuncts.
In light of recent work on syntactic head movement and clitic movement in Phase Theory, this paper argues for a feature-based, head-movement account of argumental object clitics in Spanish. The novelty of the proposal outlined in this paper is the extension of a movement approach to indirect object (IO) clitics, which are commonly regarded in the literature as base-generated verb-agreement morphemes. It is shown that IO clitics, like their DO counterparts, engage in probe/goal relations to value and delete uninterpretable Case features, and, upon Agree, cliticize via head movement. Chomsky’s operation of inheritance (2008) figures in this account, as it helps explain the derived order of clitics in IO-DO clusters in Spanish. This study is the first of its kind in offering a unified movement proposal for both types of argumental object clitics, while at the same time maintaining the simplest ‘Minimalist’ assumption that both are pronouns of the category DP. Finally, the syntactic analysis proposed for the derivation of argumental clusters is applied to derive dialectally-attested strings composed of three members in which the foremost form is a non-argumental SE clitic.
De Smet et al. (2018) propose that when functionally similar constructions come to overlap, analogical attraction may occur. So may differentiation, but this process involves attraction to other subnetworks and is both “accidental” and “exceptional”. I argue that differentiation plays a considerably more significant role than De Smet et al. allow. My case study is the development of the dative and benefactive alternations. The rise of the dative alternation (e.g., “gave the Saxons land” ∼ “gave land to the Saxons”) has been shown to occur in later Middle English between 1400 and 1500 (Zehentner 2018). Building on Zehentner and Traugott (2020), the rise of the benefactive alternation (e.g., “build her a house” ∼ “build a house for her”) in Early Modern English c1650 is analyzed from a historical constructionalist perspective and compared with the rise of the dative alternation. The histories of the alternations exemplify the rise of functionally similar constructions that overlap, and show that differentiation from each other plays as large a role as attraction. Both attraction and differentiation occur at several levels of abstraction: verb-specific constructions, schemas and larger systemic changes.