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Secondary Predication in Polish

  • Author(s): Szajbel-Keck, Malgorzata
  • Advisor(s): Nichols, Johanna
  • et al.

This thesis explains how secondary predication is constructed. It focuses on Polish, with some comparisons to other languages, and provides analysis on the syntactic, morphological and semantic level in the paradigm of Minimalism.

It starts with a definition of primary and secondary predication, maintaining that only adjuncts are true secondary predicates. This is followed by an introduction of a new phrase type, bipartite, to Polish linguistics – an expression consisting of a preposition and adjective or, sometimes, a noun. It is shown that bipartites are not simply adverbs, for which they have been taken so far, but they can serve in a variety of functions, some of them typical for adjectives, such as attributive modifier or predicative use. That predicative use, especially in secondary predication, is then in the focus of the rest of this work.

The morphosyntactic composition of secondary predication is discussed in detail, showing that lexically secondary predicates involve both adjectives and nouns (to a much lesser extent). Structurally, secondary predicates are divided into bare ones, consisting of an adjective or noun, and prepositional ones, involving bipartites, and thus consisting of a combination of a preposition and adjective or noun. Semantically, secondary predicates can be depictive or resultative. It is also illustrated that although secondary predicates fall into the category of adjuncts, they must be clearly distinguished from adverbials, attributives, interjections and absolutes.

The second part of this study concentrates on the syntax of secondary predication. It shows that secondary predicates are best described as small clauses with a predicator serving as Pr head. Three attachment sites are proposed that allow for unambiguous subject and object control, as well as separation of depictives and resultatives from circumstantials.

Secondary predicates can both agree and not agree with controlling NPs. Cases are discussed where agreement is obligatory, optional or blocked. In order to account for this variety, two types of Pr head (small clause head) are assumed: the full one blocks agreement and may assign its own case, the defective one allows agreement. The agreement involves both Agree and feature sharing between the controlling NP and secondary predicate. Finally, long distance control of secondary predicates in non-finite constructions and verbal nouns is explained.

Additional to dichotomy depictive vs. resultative, a third group, the co-called circumstantials, is identified which differs significantly from the former ones not only in semantics, but also in lexical composition (they are predominantly nominal) and attachment site (inside NP).

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