A grammar of the Malayan language by William Marsden

By William Marsden

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3 The sentences in (14) exemplify the Hopi class of adjectives, which, in their predicative use, are assumed to involve a root element of indeterminate category (often arguably nominal), combined with a nuclear element functioning as predicator (itself often nominal in inflectional category, glossed PRED below). The latter is purely hypothetical (Ø) in the adjectival component of the derived transitive verbs of (14), and for many other adjectives as well, but it is overt in some adjectival predicates, as in (17b).

Mud splashed on the wall (when the pigs ran past). (2) a. The pigs got mud on the wall. b. Mud got on the wall. (3) a. We put spurs on Leecil. b. *Spurs put on Leecil. (4) a. Leecil smeared saddle soap on my chaps. b. *Saddle soap smeared on my chaps. In the past, we accounted for verbs of the type represented by (3) and (4), which we assumed to be the ‘‘normal’’ location verb type, under the assumption that the overt verbal head ( put, smear) took as its complement an ‘‘entire’’ P-projection, as does the phonologically null verbal head of a denominal location verb like shelve, whose structure is depicted in (5).

Final Remarks Our purpose here has been to address certain apparent shortcomings in the theory according to which argument structure is defined solely in terms of complement and specifier relations. We maintain that these shortcomings are not, properly speaking, failings in our conception of argument structure. Rather, they derive from our failure to understand fully certain implications of the system. The first problem is that we failed to understand the possibilities inherent in the Merge process and, therefore, to understand that P-complemented verbs naturally fall into two classes, an inevitable outgrowth of the basic structural relations.

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