[hist-analytic] 'Under a description' and passive constructions

steve bayne baynesrb at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 13 20:54:29 EST 2009


 I said that in “Bob as the so called stage manager fired Ruddy” the subject is not “Bob” but “Bob as the so-called station master". But there is a syntactical argument that can be used to support this claim as well as the semantical ones I gave. If the subject is not 'Bob' but 'Bob as the so called stage manager' then we would expect the passive construction to be: 'Ruddy was fired by Bob as the so-called stage manager'. But even though this is a bit strained it sure is better than 'Ruddy as the so called stage manager was fired by Bob'. What makes this bad is that 'as the so called stage manager' must in fact occur under the NP (noun phrase, not the VP) where the comparative adjective 'as the so called stage manager'  is a modifier of Bob. Technically: 'as the so called stage manager' is right Chomsky-adjoined to the projection of the head, N, i.e. 'Bob'. 

Steven R. Bayne
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