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Building and Interpreting Possession Sentences$
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Neil Myler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034913

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034913.001.0001

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Consequences and Comparisons

Consequences and Comparisons

(p.307) 5 Consequences and Comparisons
Building and Interpreting Possession Sentences

Neil Myler

The MIT Press

This chapter compares the analysis of HAVE from chapter 4 with the standard analysis of HAVE found in the Freeze/Kayne tradition. Whereas the present approach takes HAVE to be BE plus a transitive Voice head, the Freeze/Kayne tradition proposes that HAVE is BE plus an incorporated adposition. After examining the Freeze/Kayne tradition on its own terms and pointing out a number of empirical and technical problems with it, this chapter goes on to compare the predictions made by the two approaches with respect to the structure of HAVE sentences. The Freeze/Kayne approach predicts that definiteness effects in HAVE sentences should match up with those in existential sentences. It also predicts that HAVE sentences should show signs that their subject has raised from below, and that they should pass tests for unaccusativity. In contrast, the present approach assigns a different explanation for definiteness effects in HAVE sentences, and predicts that HAVE should fail unaccusativity and raising tests. It is shown that the predictions of the present approach are correct, and that traditional arguments in favour of HAVE’s being unaccusative (such as its alleged inability to passivize) do not go through.

Keywords:   Possession, Existentials, Freeze/Kayne Tradition, Delayed Gratification, Definiteness Effects, Transitivity, Unaccusativity, Voice

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