Linguistics in Göttingen - A platform for empirical and theoretical linguistics

Thomas McFadden (ZAS Berlin): Capturing the structural/inherent distinction with a synthesis of competing theories of case

In this talk I will explore the idea that two competing theories of case that at first seem incompatible can actually be synthesized in a way that captures the main facts motivating the traditional divide between structural and inherent case. On the one hand, I will argue that the proposal that case is the realization of dedicated syntactic heads (Lamontagne and Tavis 1987, Bittner and Hale 1996, Caha 2009) is right for inherent case. On the other hand, I will argue that the proposal that case is purely morphological, assigned in the post-syntactic component (Marantz 1991, Harley 1995, McFadden 2004) is right for structural case. I will then consider the difficult question of how to deal with cases that seem to straddle the inherent/structural divide.