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Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses 10 (1997): 209-220

Case assignment in double object constructions

Elisa Vázquez Universidad de Santiago de Compostela

ABSTRACT This paper analyzes how case assignment takes place ín double object constructions in English. It has been claimed in the literature that case could be either structural or inherent. I will provide some evidence showing that this distinction is problematic under certain circumstances. In this sense, I will suggest three different possibilities to unify these two processes of case assignment. In the first place, I will consider unification through PP-movement, which seems to work well if we allow different subcategorizations of the same verb. In the second place, I will focus on unification through Inherent Case, pointing out that it cannot account for some of the data presented in this paper. Finally, I will discuss and give arguments for the unification through Structural case.

1. Introduction It was first assumed by Chomsky in his book Lectures on Government and Binding (1981) that when structural (i.e. positional) Case is assigned to an NP, both the government condition and the adjacency condition, summarized in (1) and (2) below, should be respected. (1) Government Condition: Structural Case is assigned to an NP that is governed by the verb. In very general terms, what is relevant for a better understanding of this paper is that the verb is at the same level as the NP complement in the tree diagram. In other words, the


Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

verb and its complement are sisters. For a more formal definition of government, cf. Chomsky, Barriers 8. (2) Adjacency Condition: Structural Case is assigned to me NP that immediately follows the verb. In principie, a verb must not only govern its complement but it must also assígn a case and a semantic role to it. At the same time, structural case assignment must be further constrained by adjacency in the sense that...

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