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An existential crisis : understanding the aspectual restrictions on English existential constructions

William Harwood (UGent)
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Abstract
The purpose of this article is to explain the aspectual restrictions on existential constructions in Standard English. Whilst the lexical verb in unaccusative existentials can occur in all inflectional forms, the lexical verb in transitive existentials is restricted only to the progressive and passive participial forms. I argue that these facts can be explained if one assumes the lexical verb in English remains in situ and receives its inflection through linear adjacency, and that associates can act as interveners for the purposes of verbal inflection. I claim that the pre-verbal associate in transitive existentials raises to the edge of the progressive aspectual layer and therefore does not intervene for the purposes of progressive and passive inflections, but does so for higher inflections. In unaccusative existential constructions the associate remains in post-verbal position and so does not intervene for any type of inflection. This analysis is shown to have potentially far reaching repercussions cross-linguistically. Finally, I explain the distribution of the English associate by claiming the associate is stranded on the edge of the clause internal phase, and appeal to the dynamic approach to phases to motivate the various positions the associate occupies.
Keywords
English, anti-locality, progressive, phase, existential, linearization, aspect

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Harwood, William. “An Existential Crisis : Understanding the Aspectual Restrictions on English Existential Constructions.” LINGUA (2019): n. pag. Print.
APA
Harwood, W. (2019). An existential crisis : understanding the aspectual restrictions on English existential constructions. LINGUA.
Chicago author-date
Harwood, William. 2019. “An Existential Crisis : Understanding the Aspectual Restrictions on English Existential Constructions.” Lingua.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Harwood, William. 2019. “An Existential Crisis : Understanding the Aspectual Restrictions on English Existential Constructions.” Lingua.
Vancouver
1.
Harwood W. An existential crisis : understanding the aspectual restrictions on English existential constructions. LINGUA. 2019;
IEEE
[1]
W. Harwood, “An existential crisis : understanding the aspectual restrictions on English existential constructions,” LINGUA, 2019.
@article{4151961,
  abstract     = {The purpose of this article is to explain the aspectual restrictions on existential constructions in Standard English. Whilst the lexical verb in unaccusative existentials can occur in all inflectional forms, the lexical verb in transitive existentials is restricted only to the progressive and passive participial forms. I argue that these facts can be explained if one assumes the lexical verb in English remains in situ and receives its inflection through linear adjacency, and that associates can act as interveners for the purposes of verbal inflection. I claim that the pre-verbal associate in transitive existentials raises to the edge of the progressive aspectual layer and therefore does not intervene for the purposes of progressive and passive inflections, but does so for higher inflections. In unaccusative existential constructions the associate remains in post-verbal position and so does not intervene for any type of inflection. This analysis is shown to have potentially far reaching repercussions cross-linguistically. Finally, I explain the distribution of the English associate by claiming the associate is stranded on the edge of the clause internal phase, and appeal to the dynamic approach to phases to motivate the various positions the associate occupies.},
  author       = {Harwood, William},
  issn         = {0024-3841 },
  journal      = {LINGUA},
  keywords     = {English,anti-locality,progressive,phase,existential,linearization,aspect},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {47},
  title        = {An existential crisis : understanding the aspectual restrictions on English existential constructions},
  year         = {2019},
}