[LaGraM] Chang Liu (UMR 7023)
Chang Liu (SFL - Paris 8)
Codas in there-existentials
In this presentation, I examine the syntax of the codas in existential constructions, with a particular focus on English.
Codas are defined here as any constituent that linearly follows the associate/pivot in the existential constructions (Francez, 2007). They can be a locative PP, or other types of phrases, namely participial phrases. (a. There were people studying Gothic at the party; b. In Duffy's bar, there was a man shot by the police. Examples taken from Milsark 1974: 184-185)
Various proposals have been addressed with respect to the syntax of codas: they are predicates of the associate/pivot in a small clause (Chomsky 1981, Safir 1982, Kim 2009), or VP adjuncts like depictive predicates (McNally 1992, Hartmann 2008), or reduced relative clauses modifying the associate/pivot (Williams 1984, Moro 1997, Law 1999), or (in the case of participial codas) main verbal predicates in expletive verbal constructions (Chomsky 2001, Rezac 2006, Bjorkman and Cowper 2015)
I review the essential arguments through the literature and argue that codas are external to the associate/pivot, and they are not predicates of the associate/pivot. In addition, I cast doubts on the recent view in taking participial codas as core verbal predicates as in expletive constructions and attempts to propose an alternative syntactic structure. I show the advantages and the challenges of this (still immature) proposal.