A study of determiner phrase of Spanish, English and Korean

Date

2003

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Abstract

Following the assumptions of Cinque (1994,1999,2002), Giusti(1999) and Bruge (2002) that there are multiple functional projections in the extended Nominal Projections (DP), and that the Demonstrative base-generates in the specifier position of a FP (Functional Projection), this study presents a minimalist approach to the analysis of the Determiner Phrase of Spanish, English and Korean. The primary claim of this study is that the cross-linguistic word order variations and the co-occurrence of the modifiers within the extended Nominal Projections in Spanish, Korean, and English can be accounted for in a unified analysis based on the movement of Demonstrative and the head Noun before or after Spell-Out, and the parameter of strong and weak feature of functional category in the terms of Chomsky(1995). In respect to the pre- and postnominal positions of demonstrative in Spanish, the selection depends on the types of movement of demonstrative for [+Ref] functional feature checking. In other words, in the case of the postnominal demonstrative, the movement of Demonstrative for [+Ref] feature checking in Spec-Head configuration is after Spell-Out, whereas the movement of Demonstrative in prenominal position is overt. On the other hand, in Korean and English the obligatory prenominal demonstrative results from the movement being before Spell-Out. According to Chomsky’s theory of feature strength, the present study postulates that the [±Ref] feature is strong in Korean and English, but can be strong or weak in Spanish. Likewise the crosslinguistic difference regarding the position of APs in DP is attributed to the parametric variation of N movement. The movement of N to the head of a functional projection which is higher than the FP where the adjective is base-generated derives the postnominal adjective in Spanish, whereas the prenominal adjective in Korean and English is due to the absence of this movement before Spell-Out. With respect to the variation of structural position of the possessive in Spanish, English and Korean, I claim that the possessive is universally basegenerated in the specifier position of an intermediate FP between DP and NP, and then moves up as far as functional projection, the so-called AgrGP(AgrGenitivePhrase) immediately dominated by DP, for [+Poss] feature checking. The postnominal possessive in Spanish can be accounted for by the covert movement of feature checking, whereas the prenominal clitic forms of possessive are derived by the overt movement for the [+Poss] feature checking before Spell-Out. As for the prenominal possessive in Korean and English, I argue that [+Poss] feature checking must be overt. Regarding the [+Def] feature checking in Korean, I claim that the particle ‘-n(un)’ which functions as a topicality marker is base generated with [+Def] feature. ‘-(n)un’ is a bound morpheme which is always attached to the noun as a suffix. Taking into account the position of attributive adjectives which are always prenominal, I argue that [+Def] feature checking of ‘-(n)un’ against D° in DP takes place covertly after Spell-Out.

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