PhD ceremony: Mr. R. Simik, 13.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Title: Modal existential wh-constructions
Promotor(s): prof. J. Koster
Radek Simik’s dissertation is a thorough investigation of the syntax, semantics, and typology of modal existential wh-constructions the last major type of wh-construction (next to questions and relative clauses) that is still relatively poorly understood. Simik argues that their proper analysis enhances our understanding of a variety of richly discussed issues, including the syntax-semantics of argument structure, event structure, existential predicates, wh-movement, covert modality, and obligatory control.
Simik argues for a radically new approach to modal existential wh-con structions. His core idea is that they are not ordinary objects of the verb which they are selected by (a predicate expressing the state of existence or availability, or a complex predicate leading to such a state), as previously assumed, but rather constitute an additional independent argument. This argument is an integral part of the complex event structure of the matrix verb its “event extension” and as such characterizes possible developments of the state or event denoted by the matrix predicate. The proposed analysis accounts for many apparently unmotivated properties of these constructions, including their highly restricted scope, modality, and syntactic distribution on the one hand, and a relative freedom of their internal syntactic shape on the other. The analysis also reveals a previously unobserved but remarkably tight relationship between modal existential wh-constructions and English purpose clauses.
Simik’s dissertation is of interest to theoretically and typologically oriented linguists working on wh-constructions, purpose clauses, existential sentences, event structure, and modality. On a more general level, it deals with issues at the syntax-semantics and syntax-pragmatics interface.
The UG’s Global Responsibility and Leadership degree programme has been named by the Dutch Higher Education Guide for Universities 2024 as the best Bachelor’s degree programme in the Netherlands. This programme, which is taught at Campus Fryslân in...
Turning Humanities from primarily teaching-oriented to an organization where teaching and research have equal weight. Dean Thony Visser had barely begun realising this ambition when the pandemic broke out. With many things suddenly requiring ad hoc...
Livelihood security seem to be the magic words of this election campaign. It is presented in the media as the major election theme. According to Dirk Jan Wolffram, this is the case because the truly major themes are not translated into the parties'...
The UG website uses functional and anonymous analytics cookies. Please answer the question of whether you want to accept
or reject other cookies (such as tracking cookies).
If no choice is made, only basic cookies will be stored. More information