Proxy control: extending the typology of control in grammar
Aaron Doliana, Sandhya Sundaresan
August 2017

As is well known, the control dependency in grammar is broadly distinguished into two broad classes: exhaustive (i → i) and non-exhaustive (i → i+(j)). The goal of this paper is to show that languages seem to allow another type of control in addition to these and to provide a formal account for how it may be derived in grammar. This new type of control is neither exhaustive nor strictly non-exhaustive, in the sense described above. Rather, it involves a mapping between an individual i and another individual f(i), where f is a discourse-contextually defined function denoting some sort of social group or class membership, and where i is not = f(i). We call this new type of control "proxy control", in analogy with instances of proxy anaphora (Jackendoff 1992, Schladt 2000, Reuland and Winter 2009) which have also been argued to involve a relation of this nature. Proxy control is interesting not only because it extends the typology of possible control relations in grammar, but also because it raises interesting questions about the distribution of OC vs. NOC and the factors that condition the parametric choice between the two. Our primary data comes from German and Italian collected from native speakers in in-person grammaticality judgment tasks and online surveys. For speakers of the southern standard dialects of German (Bavarian-Swabian, Swabian, Bavarian, and Austrian) and the Grossetano dialect of Italian (spoken in parts of Tuscany), we present empirical diagnostics to show that proxy control instantiates a species of OC. For the rest of the native speakers of German and Italian tested, proxy control instantiates a choice of NOC. We focus primarily on proxy OC in this paper and propose that it involves a kind of “cyclic” control: the first cycle involves a i → f (i) control dependency into a bouletic modal complement; the second, an f(i) → f(i) exhaustive control dependency into a deontic modal clause. Proxy OC is the composite consisting of these put together. We present agreement evidence from floating quantifiers in Italian and Condition B obviation effects in German to argue that the i → f (i) relation is not established in syntax: rather, a simple i → i exhaustive control relation alone is syntactically encoded. This i on the controllee (PRO) is then semantically extended at LF to f(i) (following an adaption of the extension semantics for partial control in Pearson 2016) yielding i → f (i). Toward the end of the paper, we turn to a discussion of dialectal and crosslinguistic variation for proxy control, which revolves around whether proxy control is instantiated as a species of OC or NOC. We discuss the nature of the variation in detail and also propose the ways in which such variation could be theoretically understood and modelled within the analytic framework of our approach to proxy OC.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003612
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: submitted
keywords: proxy control, (non) obligatory control, agree, centered worlds, modality, syntax-semantics interface, semantics, morphology, syntax
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