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      This is personal: Impersonal middles as disposition ascriptions

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          Abstract

          We develop an analysis of impersonal middles which capitalizes on the observed similarities between personal and impersonal middles, and on Lekakou’s ( 2004; 2005a) treatment of the former as disposition ascriptions. The following questions are addressed: (i) What is the disposition ascribed to in impersonal middles? (ii) What is the function of the obligatory subject pronoun? (iii) Why is a modifier needed, in addition to the manner/evaluative adverbial? By having a closer look at what types of additional modifiers are acceptable in impersonal middles, it is argued that the disposition in impersonal middles is ascribed to an event(uality), rather than an event participant. This is done via the non-omissible it-type pronoun that functions as the syntactic subject of the clause. We argue that this pronoun in impersonal middles is also the semantic subject, and that it indirectly refers to the event denoted by the verbal predicate, via an association relation with the vP. Impersonal middles, then, are not truly impersonal: they, too, feature a referential subject. The only difference between personal and impersonal middles relates to what the dispositional subject is: an event participant, or the event proper. We also show that the additional modifier is required for pragmatic reasons, namely in order to restrict the generalization made by the generic operator present in impersonal middles.

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          Severing the External Argument from its Verb

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            External Arguments in Transitivity Alternations: A Layering Approach

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              Making a Pronoun: Fake Indexicals as Windows into the Properties of Pronouns

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2397-1835
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Ubiquity Press
                2397-1835
                17 May 2018
                2018
                : 3
                : 1
                : 59
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Ioannina, GR
                [2 ]University of Stuttgart, DE
                Article
                10.5334/gjgl.487
                dfcb2caa-2462-4c5e-8492-03719c6c966a
                Copyright: © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                History
                : 19 July 2017
                : 18 December 2017
                Categories
                Special collection: the grammar of dispositions

                General linguistics,Linguistics & Semiotics
                events,(Impersonal) middles,implicit Agent,dispositional sentences

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