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Complementizers and Prepositions as Probes: Insights from Greek


This dissertation examines distributional and interpretive properties of complementizers and their surface complements, as well as prepositions and their surface complements in Greek. It establishes that (i) complementizer selection is sensitive to grammatical properties of the embedding verb, (ii) Greek complement clauses have different distributional properties than corresponding DPs: complement clauses obligatorily extrapose and they show striking subject-object asymmetries. Complement clauses also differ from corresponding DPs in that they have to reconstruct for binding purposes. The dissertation argues that these facts follow from where the complementizers enter the derivation, and how they get together with their complements. Concretely, it proposes that complementizers are merged in the matrix clause and that they are probes attracting their surface complements rather than merging directly with them (cf. Kayne 2000, 2005). The dissertation also shows that (functional) Ps and their complements come together in a similar manner. Like complementizers, prepositions are sensitive to grammatical properties of the verb they combine with. Furthermore, the complement of a preposition c-commands and

binds as a bare DP with the corresponding theta role. These two properties are amenable to an analysis in which prepositions select the verb they combine with, their surface DP complement is merged as a bare DP argument and is attracted by the preposition. Finally, the dissertation proposes a hierarchy of PPs strikingly similar to the one in Schweikert (2005). This hierarchy interacts with split wh-possessor constructions and provides new insights into their derivation.

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