Null complements, event structure, predication and anaphora: A Functional Discourse Grammar account

Abstract : The theme of this chapter is the possible existence, and if so, interpretation, of zero or null complements of predicates which may take one or two internal arguments (i.e. either an A2 or an A2 and an A3), realizable syntactically. It aims to show how this phenomenon may receive a satisfactory treatment within Functional Discourse Grammar (FDG). I am concerned here only with null complements having nominal values, leaving aside predicational zeros (as in VP ellipses such as [...] and Peter was too). There are three essential issues concerning the possibility of occurrence and the type of interpretation of null complements: first, what are the conditions under which they may occur with various types of transitive verbs?; second, what are the semantic and referential values which these null complements may assume in different contexts?; and third, what are the principles which make these values possible? Clearly, the occurrence of null complements needs to be licensed - it is not just any transitive verb, in any type of context, which may allow its direct and/or indirect complement(s) to be unrealized syntactically. A satisfactory account of the possibility of non-realization of one or both of a predicate's internal arguments syntactically, and when this is possible, of the way in which they receive an interpretation, requires recognizing the existence of an interaction amongst lexical-semantic structure, the construction selected as a whole, and various discourse-contextual factors.
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Francis Cornish. Null complements, event structure, predication and anaphora: A Functional Discourse Grammar account. J.L. Mackenzie & M.A. Gomez Gonzalez. Studies in Functional Discourse Grammar, Peter Lang, pp.29-56, 2005, 3-03910-696-1. ⟨hal-00967309⟩

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