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On Middle Formation: A Reply to Zribi-Hertz Author(s): Thomas S. Stroik Reviewed work(s): Source: Linguistic Inquiry, Vol. 26, No.

1 (Winter, 1995), pp. 165-171 Published by: The MIT Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 14/07/2012 22:03
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Squibs and Discussion


Thomas S. Stroik Morehead State University

In Stroik 1992aI arguecontraRoberts (1986)and Fagan(1988) that the Agent 0-role is not syntacticallysuppressedin middle constructions,but instead is syntacticallyexpressed as an adjunct. Under my analysis, the middleverb bribein (la) projects its entire,two-place0-grid(Agent,Patient)into the syntax;however, this middle projection,I contend, differs from an active projectionin that it follows from markedsyntactic processes. Specifically,in middleconstructionsthere is no Infl-Vcoindexing and thereforethe VP cannot use Infl to projectits external Agentargument into the subjectposition (here I follow Roberts (1986));1consequently, this external argumentis forced to be projectedinto a markedstructural(adjunct)position, as is permittedunderLarson's (1988)Principleof ArgumentDemotion (note that the principlepermitsthis 0-role to be assigned as a VP adjunctsince the Agent 0-roleis assignedby VP).2 I further argue that, in sentences such as (la), the "missing" external argumentis PROarb. Importantly,these argumentslead me to assign sentence (la) the D-Structurerepresentation(lb).3
I would like to thankMichelle Boisseau and three anonymousLI reviewersfor their helpful and insightfulremarkson earlierdrafts of this text. thatonly accomplishment verbs l I also follow Robertsin assuming for supporting arundergomiddleformation (see Roberts 1986:186-227 guments). 2 Larson (p. 352) formulatesthe Principleof Argument Demotion as follows:
(i) Principle of Argument Demotion

If A is a 0-role assigned by Xk, then A may be assigned (up to optionality)to an adjunctof Xk. 3 The S-Structure representation for (la) is derivedin accordance with Burzio's (1986)Generalization. That is, since the verb does not assigna 0-roleto the Spec IP argument position, it cannotassign Case to its internalargument; hence, the object NP must move to a position thatcan be assignedCase (theemptySpec IP position)in orderto satisfy Case theory.Underthe movementanalysisoutlinedabove, the S-Structure representation for (la) will be (i).


. . .

[vp[vp bribe ti easily] PRO]]

(Similarmovementanalyses of middleformationhave been proposed in Keyser and Roeper 1984and in Carrierand Randall1992.) 165




bribe easily. (1) a. Bureaucrats b. [lp e [vp[vpbribe bureaucratseasily] PRO]] To supportmy analysis, I appeal to the reflexive data in (2), amongother facts.4 (2) a. Books about oneself never read poorly. b. Because of computers, today's memos to oneself compose more quickly than ever before. I maintainthat, under my analysis, the reflexives in (2) are bound in accordance with PrincipleA of the binding theory. That is, if (2a) has D-Structurerepresentation(3) (as it would given my analysis),and if anaphorscan be boundat any syntactic level (as Belletti and Rizzi (1988)assert), then the reflexive oneself can be bound at D-Structureby PRO. (3) [lP e [vp[vp read books about oneself poorly] PRO]] Zribi-Hertz(1993)takes issue with my analysis of middle asconstructions.She maintainsthat I make an unwarranted sumptionthat underminesmy analysis: namely, that all anaphors must conformto PrincipleA (assumedin my discussion of the reflexive facts in (2)). CitingKuno's (1987)and her own (1989) discussions of logophoricallyinterpretedanaphorsand pointingto examples such as (4), (4) Books about oneself are often worrisome. in which a reflexive cannot be licensed by any demoted argument, Zribi-Hertz(1993:586)concludes that "[i]t follows that the grammaticality of the reflexive anaphor [in (2)] does not makeit necessaryto assume the occurrenceof an empty binder within the minimal clause" (which, of course, is my assumption). is certainlycorrectin arguing Zribi-Hertz that all reflexives includingoneself can be bound logophoricallyas well as structurally.5 However, she provideslittle evidence to show that the reflexivein the middleconstruction(2) is indeed logophorically boundratherthanstructurally bound. In fact, she offers but one piece of evidence (cited in (5)) that, she contends, demonstrates that the "humanagent" 0-role is not syntacticallypresent. (5) a. This car shifts manually. b. *This car shifts with the righthand. of midAccordingto Zribi-Hertz,it is the Agent-independence dle constructionsthat prohibitsthe Agent-dependentPP with
I discuss these data in Stroik 1992a. Zribi-Hertz defines a logophoricpronounas "one that (1993:585) occurs in reportedspeech or thought... to refer back to the minimal subjectof consciousness, that is, the person whose speech or thoughts are being reported."





the right hand in (5b) from being interpretable; hence the ungrammaticality of (5b). But this is not a compelling argument. If it were, then we would have no explanation for the relative well-formedness of the examples in (6).6 (6) a. b. That style of Braille reads much better with the right hand than with the left hand. Because of the location of the transmission and the steering wheel, this car shifts best with the right hand.

From the evidence in (6), we can see that Agent-specific PPs such as with the right hand are permissible in middle constructions (a fact that would seem to favor my PRO analysis of middles because, under this analysis, the middles in (6) have a syntactically expressed Agent argument that could license the Agent-specific PPs); therefore, the evidence in (5) does not, as Zribi-Hertz claims, invalidate my analysis of middle constructions.7 Further, the logophoric analysis itself has some problems with empirical data. First, as pointed out to me by an anonymous LI reviewer, under the logophoric analysis, examples such as (7) should be well formed, but they are not. (7) *The New York Times's books about oneself read poorly. The fact that the preposed genitive in (7) prevents the anaphor oneself from being bound suggests that there are syntactic constraints on the subject-contained anaphor (a condition that is compatible with the PRO analysis, but not with the logophoric analysis). Second, if anaphors in middles are licensed logophorically, rather than syntactically, then we are left with no explanation for why the anaphors in (8a) and (9a) are not licensed (compare (8a) with (8b) and (9a) with (9b)). (8) a. *This car should shift easily for myself/oneself. b. This car should shift easily for me/one. (9) a. *Math books will never read easily for myself/ oneself. b. Math books will never read easily for me/one. It would seem that the reflexives in (8a) and (9a) refer back to the minimal subject of consciousness and, therefore, the logophoric analysis should (incorrectly) predict that these reflexives will be licensed logophorically. The PRO analysis, however, offers
6 Examplessuch as (6a) were broughtto my attentionby Michelle Boisseau and an anonymousLI reviewer. 7 The data in (5)-(6) suggest that pragmaticfactors, ratherthan syntacticones, are responsiblefor the ill-formedness of (Sb).




an explanationfor the data in (8) and (9). Under this analysis, the reflexives in (8a) and (9a) receive the Agent 0-role (hence, there is no PRO argumentin (8) or (9)); then, given that the anaphorsin (8a) and (9a) must satisfy the bindingtheory and giventhatthe only possibleantecedentsfor the reflexives(the SStructuresubjects)lack the requisiteagreementfeatures, these reflexives necessarilyviolate PrincipleA because they are unbound. So my analysis correctlypredictsthat (8a) and (9a) will be ungrammatical. Importantly, since Zribi-Hertz'scritiqueof my analysis of middlescruciallydependson (5), if the data in (5) do not in fact invalidatemy analysis, then they do not decide between the structuralanalysis of middle constructionsand the logophoric analysis.(Note thateven the descriptionof the middleconstructions given in Fellbaumand Zribi-Hertz1989:24-as constructions in which "[t]he modifiers . . . refer to intrinsic properties

of the subject-theme which are relevantfor ANY POTENTIAL AGENT"-cannot invalidatethe structural analysis of middles because the PROarb is in fact ANY POTENTIALAGENT.) AlthoughZribi-Hertzdoes not offer evidence able to discriminateher analysis from mine, such evidence does exist. In the remainder of this squibI will presentarguments demonstrating that my structural analysis of middle constructions is

Some supportfor my analysis comes from adjunct-control data. Of note is the fact that middle constructionspermit the EC Agent-whether it is semanticallyimplicitor syntactically expressed-to control the PRO subject in gerundiveadjuncts (see (10))but not in infinitivaladjuncts(see (11)). (EC = semantically implicitargumentor PRO) (10) a. Most physics books read poorly ECi even after PROireadingthem several times. b. Bureaucratsbribe easily ECi after PROi doing them a favor or two. c. Those houses won't sell easily ECi withoutPRO, advertisingthem.
8 My analysisof middlesis also more compellingthanother structuralanalyses,suchas those of Roberts(1986)(whichI havediscussedin Stroik1992a) andKeyserandRoeper(1984, 1992).KeyserandRoeper's abstractclitic analysis of middleconstructionsis problematic because it incorrectlypredicts that the middle clitic SE cannot cooccur with particlesor with the prefix re- (see (i)-(ii)). (i) a. Navel oranges generally squeeze out so easily that I squeeze a dozen of them every day. b. John always turns on quickly. c. That lid never screws on tightly. (ii) a. Such fixturesreattachpoorly. b. Don't buy that house because it won't resell very easily. c. No physics text rereadsas poorly as does this one.




(11) a. *Most physics books read poorly ECi PROi to make sense of them. b. *Bureaucrats bribe easily ECi PROi to keep them happy. c. *That type of house sells easily ECi PROi to make money. Since Zribi-Hertz claims that the Agent arguments in middle constructions are semantically present (but syntactically suppressed), her account cannot explain why the PRO elements in (10) can be controlled by semantically implicit EC arguments but those in (11) cannot. On the other hand, my analysis offers a natural explanation for the data in (10)-(l 1). If, as I claim, the Agent argument EC in (10)-(l 1) is PROarb, which is syntactically expressed as a VP adjunct, and if temporal and manner adverbs are VP adjuncts or VP-internal adjuncts, whereas reason adverbs are TP adjuncts (as argued in Rizzi 1990 and Stroik 1992b), then the sentences in (lOa) and (I la) will have the SStructure representations (12a) and (12b), respectively. (12) a. [most physics books Lvp[vp[vp read poorly] [even after PROk reading them several times]]] [most physics books [TP[TP[vP[vP read poorly] PROarb]] [PROk to make sense of them]]]


In (12a) the PROarb argument c-commands PROk and therefore can syntactically control it; in (12b) this is not the case. The grammaticality differences between (10) and (11), then, follow from the structures in (12). Hence, under the assumption that middle constructions have Agent arguments demoted to VP adjuncts, it is possible to explain the data in (10)-(1 1) that resist Zribi-Hertz's logophoric analysis.9
9 For an alternative to my purely structural treatment of gerundives and infinitivals with phonetically null subjects, see the analysis proposed by Kawasaki (1992). She argues that the construal of null arguments in gerundives and infinitivals is subject to discourse constraints that are somewhat different for the two cases (she notes that gerundives permit wider pragmatic control than do infinitivals). However, that structural conditions are involved in construing the PRO subject of a gerundive or infinitival adjunct in a middle construction can be observed in cases where the demoted Agent argument of a middle verb is lexically present, as in (i) and (ii). (i) a. These bureaucrats bribe easily for mej after PROi drinking with them. b. These bureaucratsi bribe easily for me after PROi drinking with me. (ii) a. *These bureaucrats bribe easily for me, (in order) PRO1 to impress them with my willingness to serve them. b. These bureaucratsi bribe easily for me (in order) PROi to impress me with their willingness to serve me. These examples seem to support the analysis I offer for (10) and (11).




Further support for the structuralapproach to middles comes from work by Authier (1992), who points out that in sentences "only syntacticallypresentquantidonkey-anaphora ficationalphrases in the if-clause can license the bound reading for the pronominalin the main clause" (p. 348). Hence, (13a)is well formed, but (13b) is not. (13) a. Quand une femme est humiliee if a woman is humiliated par quelqu'uni,elle lei gifle. by someonei she slaps himi b. *Quandune femme est humiliee, elle le gifle. if a woman is humiliatedshe slaps him ((13b) is ungrammatical on the bound pronominalreadingfor him.) FollowingAuthier's(1988)argument thatPROarb is quantificational, we can employ donkey-anaphora sentences to test whetheror not the nonovertlyexpressedAgent0-rolein middles is syntacticallypresent (as PROarb). Considerthe sentences in

(14) a. If a book about oneselfi reads poorly ECi, onei*j mustjust grin and bear it. b. If memos to oneselfi don't read well enough ECi, should rewrite them. onei/*j Notice that in (14a-b) the pronominalone must have a bound reading.Now given Authier's analysis, the pronominalsin the matrixclauses in (14a-b) can be boundonly if thereare syntactically present quantificational phrases in the if-clauses that license this binding.Importantly, Zribi-Hertz's analysisdoes not allow any such quantificational phrases to be present in the ifclause(so it cannotexplainthejudgmentsin (14a)and(14b));my analysis,on the otherhand,posits quantificational phrases-the PROarb Agent argumentsthat have been demoted to VP adjuncts-that can license the pronominal bindingrequiredto explainthe datain (14). The examplesin (14)then providesupport for the syntactic projectionof the Agent 0-role in middle constructions. If the arguments I havepresentedarecorrect,thereis ample reasonto believe that middleverbs do projecttheirentire0-grid syntactically,despite Zribi-Hertz'sclaim to the contrary.
That is, as (ib) and (iib) illustrate, the S-Structure subjects can control the PRO arguments in both gerundives and infinitivals (since the subject c-commands PRO); however, the VP-adjoined NP can control the PRO in the gerundive adjunct (see (ia)) but not the PRO in the infinitival adjunct (see (iia))-a fact compatible with my analysis because, under this analysis, the VP-adjoined NP will c-command the gerundive VP adjunct but not the infinitival TP adjunct. (Note that I am assuming here that the prepositionfor in (i)-(ii) has only a Case-marking function (akin to that of of in proud of Mary) and therefore does not affect the c-command domain of the adjoined NP.)




References Authier, J.-Marc. 1988. The syntax of unselective binding. Doctoral dissertation, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Authier, J.-Marc. 1992. A parametric account of V-governed arbitrary null arguments. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 10:345-374. Belletti, Adriana, and Luigi Rizzi. 1988. Psych-verbs and 0-theory. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 6: 291-352. Burzio, Luigi. 1986. Italian syntax. Dordrecht: Reidel. Carrier, Jill, and Janet H. Randall. 1992. The argument structure and syntactic structure of resultatives. Linguistic Inquiry 23:173-234. Fagan, Sarah. 1988. The English middle. Linguistic Inquiry 19: 181-203. Fellbaum, Christiane, and Anne Zribi-Hertz. 1989. The middle construction in French and English: A comparative study of its syntax and semantics. Indiana University Linguistics Club, Bloomington. Kawasaki, Noriko. 1992. Control and arbitrary interpretation in English. Doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Keyser, Samuel Jay, and Thomas Roeper. 1984. On the middle and ergative constructions in English. Linguistic Inquiry 15:381-416. Keyser, Samuel Jay, and Thomas Roeper. 1992. Re: The abstract clitic hypothesis. Linguistic Inquiry 23:89-125. Kuno, Susumu. 1987. Functional syntax: Anaphora, discourse, and empathy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Larson, Richard. 1988. On the double object construction. Linguistic Inquiry 19:335-391. Rizzi, Luigi. 1990. Relativized Minimality. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. Roberts, Ian. 1986. The representation of implicit and dethematized subjects. Dordrecht: Foris. Stroik, Thomas. 1992a. Middles and movement. Linguistic Inquiry 23:127-137. Stroik, Thomas. 1992b. On the distribution of temporal and locative adverbials. The Linguistic Review 9:267-284. Zribi-Hertz, Anne. 1989. Anaphor binding and narrative point of view: English reflexive pronouns in sentence and discourse. Language 65:695-727. Zribi-Hertz, Anne. 1993. On Stroik's analysis of English middle constructions. Linguistic Inquiry 24:583-589.