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Micro-Syntactic Variation in North American English$
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Raffaella Zanuttini and Laurence Horn

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199367221

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199367221.001.0001

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This Syntax Needs Studied

This Syntax Needs Studied

(p.242) Chapter 8 This Syntax Needs Studied
Micro-Syntactic Variation in North American English

Elspeth Edelstein

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the alternative embedded passive (AEP), a feature of varieties such as “Pittsburghese,” in which a past participle directly follows need, want, or like, as in “The cat needs fed.” Differences from the corresponding Standard English form (e.g., “The cat needs to be fed”) indicate the AEP does not arise from phonological ellipsis of to be, as is often assumed. An implicational hierarchy of use with the three possible matrix verbs, along with their varying acceptability as Control predicates, suggests the AEP is a Raising construction. Moreover, several diagnostics show the embedded participle is verbal rather than adjectival. In essence, the AEP represents a syntactically distinct Restructuring configuration, consisting of a Raising verb selecting for a reduced nonfinite complement.

Keywords:   Control, nonfinite complement, passive, past participle, Pittsburghese, Raising, Restructuring

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