Existential impersonals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We claim that impersonal passive constructions are a type of existential that assert the novel existence (or occurrence) of an event. We claim that the well-known restriction against telic predicates in impersonal passive constructions follows naturally from this characterization. Telic predicates are made up of two events; a process and an endpoint. We show, using standard tests for presuppositionality, that presupposition of the process component of the bipartite event structure in telics is forced by the assertion of the endpoint component. Presupposed elements are not pragmatically consistent with existentials, hence telic predicates are ruled out in these constructions. The approach presented here is contrasted with other analyses in the literature, particularly that of Goldberg 1995.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-65
Number of pages20
JournalStudia Linguistica
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2005

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event
Telic
Impersonals
Impersonal Passives
literature
Presupposition
Event Structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Existential impersonals. / Carnie, Andrew H; Harley, Heidi B.

In: Studia Linguistica, Vol. 59, No. 1, 04.2005, p. 46-65.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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