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Zur Syntax und Semantik absoluter mit-Sätzchen im Deutschen

Back to issue: Linguistische Berichte Heft 260
EUR 19.90

The present article is concerned with so-called absolute, i.e. non-selected, small clauses headed by the preposition mit (in one of its homonymous uses). Drawing on observations and data in Businger (2011), but contrary to his analysis, I argue for a unified syntactico-semantic analysis of ‚absolute‘ small clauses headed by the preposition mit (‚with‘) and haben-clauses (‚have‘) in German as double subject-predicate structures. Based on Bowers’ (1993, 2001) PrP-analysis, I analyze absolute mit-SCs as adjunct PrPs (PrPadjunct) headed by mit with PRO in Spec and a PrP complement (PrPcomplement), consisting (minimally) of a dative DP and a predicative XP, cf. (1):

(1) [PrP/adjunct PRO mit [PrP/complement DPdat […] XP]]]

Regarding the interpretation of PRO in these adjuncts, I argue that PRO displays the obligatory control (OC) properties described by Landau (2013): 1) the controller must be an argument of the adjunct’s matrix clause (usually, but not always, a subject), 2) long-distance and arbitrary control are ruled out, 3) OC PRO only allows a sloppy reading under ellipsis, and 4) PRO’s antecedent is not restricted to [+human], but also can also be [-human]. Finally, these adjuncts are syntactically and semantically underspecified in the sense that they are not inherently temporal, causal or manner, but are interpreted as such in the corresponding adverbial adjunct positions (cf. Frey & Pittner 1998, 1999 and Pittner 1999).