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Complex Predicates: Verbal Complexes, Resultative Constructions, and Particle Verbs in German

Bild: Complex Predicates Author: Stefan Müller

Key Words: Complex Predicate, Control, Raising, AcI, Passive, Particle Verb, Idiom, Depictive Predicate, Resultative Construction, Secondary Predicate, Fronting, Morphology, HPSG

Appeared 2002 in the series Studies in Constraint-Based Lexicalism No 13. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

468 pages, ISBN (Paperback): 1575863863 ($35.00 or 28,41 EUR), ISBN (Cloth): 1575863855 ($75.00 or 71,43 EUR)

An earlier version of this book got accepted as a Habilitationsschrift at the Philosphical Faculty II of the University of the Saarland in Saarbrücken.

This book examines various linguistic phenomena and determines that certain constructions should be treated as complex predicates. Specifically, the book explores auxiliary and verb combinations in future, perfect, and passive constructions; causative constructions, verb complex constructions with raising and control verbs; subject and object predicatives; depictive secondary predicates (1); resultative constructions (2); and particle verb combinations. The properties of all these constructions are studied on a broad empirical basis, mainly with data from German.

(1) Er ißt das Fleisch roh.
(2) Er fährt das Auto kaputt / zu Schrott.

Scrambling and fronting data are used to argue that all these constructions-except the depictive secondary predicates, which are treated as adjunct-should be treated as complex predicates. The potential for a verb to enter a resultative construction or to form a particle verb that follows a productive pattern is licensed by lexical rules. Base verb and resultative predicate and base verb and particle are combined in syntax by the same rule that licences verbal complexes in German.

In the part about particle verbs it is argued that particles should be treated as parts of the predicate complex. They are serialized in the right sentence bracket (3)–(4) and they can be fronted like adjectives or verbs (5).

(3) Karl kommt abends in Berlin an.
(4) Karl kommt abends in der Stadt an, in der ich wohne.
(5) Fest steht, daß Karl nicht der Mörder war.

So it seems reasonable to treat the preverb-verb-constructions in the same way as other predicate complex constructions. Frontings as (5) then can be described as instances of Partial Verb Phrase Fronting.

Arguments that have been put forward in order to show that particle verbs have to be treated in the morphology component are discussed and refuted. An analysis of inflection and derivation is provided that is compatible with the syntactic analysis of particle verbs. As a byproduct this analysis solves the brackating paradox with regard to particle verbs that was often discussed in the literature.