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Concepts, Syntax, and Their InterfaceThe Theta System$
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Tanya Reinhart, Martin Everaert, and Marijana Marelj

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034135

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034135.001.0001

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The Thematic Phase and the Architecture of Grammar

The Thematic Phase and the Architecture of Grammar

Chapter:
(p.129) II The Thematic Phase and the Architecture of Grammar
Source:
Concepts, Syntax, and Their Interface
Author(s):

Julia Horvath

Tal Siloni

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262034135.003.0003

The chapter addresses the division of labor between the syntax and the lexicon, specifically, the controversy between two major alternative approaches to the derivation of the thematic (vP) phase: (a) the syntacticocentric architecture, under which argument structure is attributed to the syntactic structure-building component via syntactic composition of events, the lexicon being merely lists of atomic building blocks; (b) the active-lexicon architecture, under which argument structure information is specified in lexical entries and the lexicon includes (certain) valence changing operations. After assessment of the underlying factors that had motivated the recent shift towards the syntacticocentric architecture, the chapter argues that the transfer of argument structure information to the syntax is unwarranted. The authors propose a version of bare phrase structure, and definitions that derive argument mapping under an active lexicon that incorporates Reinhart’s Theta System; they show these to provide an adequate resolution of the issues that had inspired the syntacticocentric approach. The chapter evaluates and challenges the validity of the evidence from adverb interpretations commonly taken to support syntactic decomposition. It proposes and substantiates litmus tests for the operational role of the lexicon, determining whether a valence changing operation must apply before syntactic merger has taken place.

Keywords:   Lexicon-syntax interface, Argument structure, Thematic phase, Valence-changing operations, External argument

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