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Syncretism: A Case Study Of The Particle Že In Czech

Kaspar, J; (2017) Syncretism: A Case Study Of The Particle Že In Czech. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis presents a case study of že in Czech. The particle can appear in a number of seemingly unrelated constructions: it can be used in declaratives, interrogatives and exclamatives of various types. Below, three of its uses are considered in detail: subordinating conjunction, question tag, discourse particle. When used as a subordination conjunction or a question tag, že might lexicalise one of the following functional heads: C or I. In both cases, že functions as a semantically vacuous linker, the purpose of which is to mark a relation between a head of one extended projection and some dependent extended projection. As a subordinating conjunction, it links a matrix clause to an embedded clause. As a question tag, it links a matrix clause to a minimal answer. When used as a discourse particle, že might appear in C or SpecCP. In both cases, že functions as a a semantically contenful linker, the purpose of which is to mark a relation between its containing utterance and some other utterance that is part of the previous discourse. In the process of establishing the above, I outline a number of properties of the constructions in which že appears, and I also make a number of general theoretical claims. First, I argue that contrastive topics in Czech appear in a dedicated syntactic position. Second, I propose a new definition of the category contrastive topic. Third, I demonstrate that embedded clauses involving contrastive left dislocation encode an assertoric speech act. Fourth, I argue that question tags comprising že are embedded minimal answers to questions expressed by the clauses to which they are attached. Fifth, I claim that a mechanism akin to feature percolation must exist as a theoretical primitive. Sixth, I show experimentally that discourse is more granular than usually assumed in the realm of information structure.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Syncretism: A Case Study Of The Particle Že In Czech
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Syncretism, Czech
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1557346
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