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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24750

Title: La structure du prédicat verbal : une étude de la construction à double objet en français
Authors: Fournier, David Hershler
Advisor: Roberge, Yves
Department: French Language and Literature
Keywords: French
syntax
verbs
argument structure
linguistics
double object construction
applicatives
universal grammar
Minimalism
ditransitives
Issue Date: 12-Aug-2010
Abstract: The present thesis addresses the issue as to why the double object construction (e.g., John gave Mary a book) seems to appear in certain languages but not in others. This construction has received much attention in past research in formal linguistics and has played a central role in developing our understanding of the internal structure of the VP. Previous studies generally define the construction with respect to relative linear order of the object complements of the verb and the lack of morphological markings on these objects. We show that these properties are not inherent to the construction and that consequently, the construction exists in a wider variety of languages than previously assumed, particularly French. Along the lines of Goldberg (1995, 2006), we develop a universal semantic definition of the construction, which may be used as a diagnostic to test, systematically and categorically, its presence across languages. In particular, we identify the double object construction in French as, for example, Jean a donné le livre à Marie. We then explain the cross-linguistic structural differences with a Case-driven approach. Specifically, we argue that the inherent dative Case, present in French but not in English, is responsible for the structural differences recognized between the languages. By adopting a minimalist derivation of argument structure (Chomsky 1995, 2000, 2004) and the applicative analysis (Pylkkänen 2002), we are able to determine the syntax of the construction, while eliminating the redundancies and limitations of previous accounts. We present certain resulting predictions related to the grammar, including a generalisation of Case-checking by the low applicative phrase, a syntactic position related to the direct object properties, and universal properties of the construction itself. In all, this thesis offers empirical evidence for the universality of the double object construction and Case-driven syntactic derivation.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24750
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of French - Doctoral theses

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