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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Gradient auxiliary selection and impersonal passivization in German: an experimental
Author: Frank Keller
Institution: University of Edinburgh
Author: Antonella Sorace
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Edinburgh
Linguistic Field: Linguistic Theories; Syntax
Subject Language: German
Abstract: The main purpose of this paper is to provide experimental evidence that two syntactic reflexes of split intransitivity in German - the selection of perfective auxiliaries and the impersonal passive construction - are sensitive to an aspectual-thematic hierarchy of verb classes. We show that there is a split between 'core' verbs that elicit categorical intuitions from native speakers, and 'intermediate' verbs that exhibit gradience. Furthermore, crossdialectal differences between northern and southern German with respect to auxiliary selection tend to occur only with intermediate verbs. We argue that these findings lend support to the view that the unaccusative-unergative distinction is considerably more unstable than often assumed, and suggest that projectionist theories of the lexicon-syntax interface such as those directly derived
from the Unaccusative Hypothesis may not be able to account for the systematic
variation exhibited by the data.


This article appears IN Journal of Linguistics Vol. 39, Issue 1.

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