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The Philosophy of Universal Grammar$
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Wolfram Hinzen and Michelle Sheehan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654833.001.0001

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The rationality of Case

The rationality of Case

(p.202) 6 The rationality of Case
The Philosophy of Universal Grammar

Wolfram Hinzen

Michelle Sheehan

Oxford University Press

Some aspects of linguistic organization traditionally identified as grammatical, such as Case, are said not to feed into the organization of thought or meaning—at least not directly. So why are they there? If they exist in the organization of grammar, they therefore either disconfirm the view that grammar necessarily subserves the organization of a special kind of meaning, or they are wrongly taken not to feed into the organization of meaning. We argue that once morphological Case features are carefully distinguished from the grammatical relations they express, they turn out to be indirectly relevant in the formal ontology of meaning. Yet, in narrow syntax itself, they don’t figure. Standard observations about a connection between Case and referentiality, Case and Tense, and Case and event mereology, follow from the account given.

Keywords:   (abstract, morphological, structural) Case, grammatical relations, Vergnaud’s conjecture, event mereology, Tense and reference

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