Small Clauses in Swedish : Towards a Unified Account

Detta är en avhandling från Scandinavian Languages

Sammanfattning: In this thesis I offer a unified syntactic account of the small clauses involved in Swedish object-with-infinitive constructions (ECM), object predicative constructions and absolute constructions. In the present framework, this similarity is conceptually appealing and is also supported by empirical data. My account extends to other types of small clauses as well. I claim that small clauses are properly analysed as vPs, or more specific, as the maximal projections of the functional categorial head of verbs (v°), adjectives (a°), or prepositions (p°), providing a proposition in the small clause; Swedish does not have small clauses based on the functional categorial head of nouns (n°). In the minimalist program that constitutes the theoretical framework of my study, the derivation of sentence structure is driven by features: the lexicon supplies the derivation with interpretable and uninterpretable features (F and uF, respectively), and the syntactic structure is derived in order to get rid of the uninterpretable instances. In my account, inspired by recent work by Pesetsky & Torrego, v° (a°, p°) carries an interpretable tense feature and an uninterpretable phi-feature and argument DPs have the same features with reversed values. This makes it possible to establish a nexus relation between v° (a°, p°) and the highest argument of the small clause; hence vP (aP, pP) is the minimal sentential structure expressing a proposition. Since the tense feature of the small clause head regulates the internal time of the event/state expressed, it cannot be anchored to the time of speech. Hence, the small clause is dependent on being embedded in a matrix clause for its interpretation. By this embedding, the time of the small clause is related to the time of the matrix clause; unless a language has particular tense morphemes to use on non-finite verbs, the event expressed in the small clause will be simultaneous with the event expressed in the matrix clause. The proposed analysis enables me to account for a number of properties that are found with small clauses including the following ones: (i) the small clause always takes the form DP + predicate, unless its predicate is a default agreeing past participle, (ii) the small clause is assigned a theta-role, (iii) the matrix verb of a Swedish object-with-infinitive construction can be passivised with -s but not with a periphrastic passive, (iv) the DP ‘subject’ of a small clause in the object-with-infinitive construction can be object-shifted to a position within the matrix clause, (v) negation inside a small clause is always local.