Reflexivization patterns in ditransitive sentences. Consequences for thematic theory (in Spanish)
Sonia Kaminszczik, Andrés Saab
February 2015

This work is framed within the Minimalist Program (Chomsky 1995 and subsequent works) and takes as its empirical domain certain patterns of reflexivization in Spanish. Concretely, it focuses on a hitherto unnoticed fact as is the impossibility of reflexivizing the direct object in ditransitive constructions in presence of a dative clitic (e.g., *Juan se le entregó a la policía vs. Juan se entregó a la policía, intended: “John surrendered to the police”). Assuming that the dative clitic indicates that the goal argument is hierarchically superior to the theme argument, we propose that this phenomenon can be explained as a matter of locality in thematic assignment. This analysis has important theoretical implications regarding thematic theory in general. Basically, we claim that this provides evidence for long-distance approaches to thematic assignment under well determined conditions of locality and activity. In addition, we discuss a putative counterexample for our relevant pattern (e.g. Juan se le entregó a María, intended “John let María have him”) and show that its distribution parallel quasi-reflexive structures in Spanish (e.g., Juan se levantó “John stood up/woke up”), which calls for a different syntactic analysis of this type of examples. We then sketch a derivation that would account for several morphosyntactic and interpretative properties of these cases in particular, and quasireflexive sentences, in general.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002285
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: accepted for Verba 43
keywords: minimalist program, thematic assignment, ditransitive constructions, (quasi)reflexive constructions, locality, activity., syntax
previous versions: v1 [November 2014]
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