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Tense, aspect, and adverbials in modern Greek

Xydopoulos, Georgios I; (1996) Tense, aspect, and adverbials in modern Greek. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to provide a syntactic analysis of the tense and aspect systems, and of some classes of adverbials in Modern Greek (MG), within the Minimalist Programme (cf. Chomsky (1993, 1995a, 1995b)). In Chapter 1, I provide a summary of the Minimalist Programme for Linguistic Theory as developed in Chomsky (1993, 1995a, 1995b). I further discuss word-order in MG and I adopt a working hypothesis for the structure of the clause in the language. More specifically, I follow Philippaki-Warburton's (1985) claim that VSO is the basic order and that SVO is some kind of a "derived" order in MG. In minimalist terms, I assume that the verb moves overtly up to the Mood head for licensing. In VSO, the subject occupies its canonical position ([Spec, TP] in minimalist terms), and in SVO, it is in the [Spec, MoodP] position due to a [+theme] feature. In Chapter 2, I make a brief review of semantic theories of tense in the literature. I consider the neo-Reichenbachian model by Homstein (1990) in more detail. On the assumption that SRE-representations are composites of SR- and ER-relations, I suggest that the former are primary while the latter are secondary temporal relations. Moreover, I adopt the neo-Reichenbachian model in the representation of the tense system in MG. Next, I propose a mapping mechanism from the semantics to the syntax of tense in MG influenced by Giorgi & Pianesi's (1991) theory of tense syntax. More specifically, I suggest that SR-relations are mapped to the functional head of T1. I also claim that T is responsible for the licensing of the subject in MG. Likewise, I suggest that ER-relations are mapped to the functional head of T2. In Chapter 3, I discuss the case of deictic temporal adverbs (DTA) in MG. I first examine their intrinsic properties and I review the existing analyses for them in the literature. Influenced by Eng (1986, 1987), I analyse DTA's, in MG, as being the antecedent of tense by restricting its range (they will share the same index). Consequently, they will appear higher than the tense in the structure and they will c-command it. In view of their distribution in the sentence, I propose that DTA's occupy a left or right non-argument specifier of TP, in their typical positioning. I analyse their non-typical positioning as involving topicalisation or focusing of the adverbial by an operation of Move F (attracted by a feature in the relevant head). In Chapter 4, I examine the distinction between perfective and imperfective viewpoint aspect in MG, in terms of Smith (1991). I investigate the semantic and morphological properties of viewpoint aspect in MG and I suggest that viewpoint aspect is an independent functional category in MG and that it heads an Aspect Phrase in the sense of X-bar theory. Apart from checking the aspectual features of the verb, the aspect head is also responsible for the licensing of the formal features of the object. Moreover, I examine the status of some adverbials in MG that show a sensitivity to the perfective-imperfective specification of the verb. I propose that these adverbials (non-directionally) select an AspP on the basis of its [± perfective] specification. They appear by Merge as (left or right) non-argument specifiers of AspP, in their typical positioning, and they are topicalised or focused when they display non-typical positioning. In Chapter 5, I discuss the syntax of "manner" adverbs in MG. I examine their lexical and syntactic properties. I also examine the properties of "subject-oriented" adverbs and I review existing treatments of this phenomenon. I also consider the possibility of adverb incorporation in the language as formulated by Rivero (1992a) and I show that empirical evidence suggests rather for a lexical than a syntactic solution to this issue. On the basis of the distribution of "manner" adverbs in MG, I propose that they should be represented as left or right non-argument specifiers of the Verb Phrase, in their typical positioning. Their non-typical positioning is accounted for in terms of topicalisation or focusing as with temporal and aspectual adverbials. In terms of licensing, I consider "manner" adverbs to be predicates (non-directionally) selecting a VP to which they assign a type of thematic role. For subject-oriented adverbs I propose that they can obtain this interpretation since they are lexically compatible to a [+ human/animate] agent and they take wide scope with respect to the whole sentence.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Tense, aspect, and adverbials in modern Greek
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Greek language
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10104496
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