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Linguistic Inquiry

Winter 2018, Vol. 49, No. 1, Pages 85-121
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00267)
© 2018 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Case and the Event Structure of Nominalizations
Article PDF (440.49 KB)
Abstract
This article explores the distribution of morphological case in Spanish nominalizations and shows that there is a connection between morphological case and event structure. Most nominals govern genitive case de on their internal arguments but some allow or require a different morpheme, a, reminiscent of differential object marking. I argue that the event structure of the nominalization is the crucial factor in choice of a, inasmuch as a is limited to process nominals that do not entail a change of state. The same distinction between process and change-of-state nominals is then extended to two other empirical puzzles regarding the interpretation of genitive arguments in nominalizations. I present a formal analysis assuming a syntax of events inspired by Ramchand (2008).