On the structure of DPs

Date of Completion

January 2003


Language, Linguistics




This dissertation provides a syntactic analysis for Spanish Determiner Phrases (DPs) within a Minimalist framework (Chomsky (1995)). The dissertation investigates extraction, cliticization, ellipsis, and modification of DPs in order to determine their internal structure. The dissertation pursues Abney's (1987) DP-hypothesis and assumes an extension of Grohmann's (2000) division of clause structure into three domains to account for the structure and properties of Spanish DPs. The properties of Adjectives and Noun Phrase ellipsis in Spanish DPs test the empirical adequacy of the analysis. ^ Chapter 2 is a study of the structural relations among the elements within DP and of the possibilities of extraction from DPs. The resulting analysis derives the different possibilities of extraction observed in Spanish DPs from the locality and anti locality conditions on movement. The differences among non-specific DPs, specific DPs, and certain definite DPs with respect to extraction result from the presence or absence of DP projections in the relevant structure. ^ Chapter 3 investigates the properties of Spanish Adjectives. It is argued that there are two positions for Adjectives in Spanish DPs, depending on their semantic properties: Prenominal Adjectives, which do not affect the extension of the Noun, are generated in the Specifier of Noun Phrase (NP); while Postnominal Adjectives, which affect the extension of the Noun, are adjoined to NP. Relational Adjectives are treated as arguments under this analysis. This division of adjectives is shown to provide a principled account of a number of properties of adjectives, including adjective placement and different meanings of Adjectives, differences in NP-ellipsis with Adjectives, and lo-cliticization in the presence of Adjectives. ^ Furthermore, the analysis in chapter 3 establishes several previously unobserved cross-linguistic generalizations and relations, and provides empirical evidence for the distinction between adjuncts and Specifiers in the theory of grammar. ^ Chapter 4 provides an analysis for nominal ellipsis in Spanish. The analysis presented is based on two main assumptions: First, NP-Ellipsis is a PF-deletion process; and, second, it applies after certain stylistic operations have been applied. These two assumptions, combined with the clitic-like character of the definite article in Spanish, are shown to account for NP-ellipsis in Spanish. ^