Complement clauses and complementation systems : a cross-linguistic study of grammatical organization

Schmidtke-Bode, Karsten

The dissertation provides a cross-linguistic investigation into the grammatical structure of complement clauses and the organization of complementation systems. Based on a balanced sample of 100 widely dispersed languages, the major goals of the present work are to set the two landmark typological reference articles on complementation (Noonan 1985|2007, Dixon 2006) onto a broad empirical basis and to explore hitherto understudied phenomena in the constitution of complementation systems. In particular, the traditional focus on object complement clauses is shifted to complements in ‘subject’ function, and the dissertation is the first to analyse systematically the cross-linguistic productivity, morphosyntactic coding, syntagmatic arrangement and diachronic rise of complements in S- and A-function, as compared to their corresponding object clauses. On a methodological plane, it combines a multivariate approach to clause-linkage with recent statistical techniques of data mining (e.g. HCFA, cluster analyses, NeighborNet, MDS) in order to measure (dis)similarities in the cross-linguistic organization of complementation constructions. This comprises, for example, a precise gauging of the degree to which the internal structure of complements is ‘desententialized’ (Lehmann 1988) and made NP-like, of the ways in which this correlates with the possible external functions and positions of the complement in the main clause, and of the ways in which these distributional patterns in complementation systems reflect the historical origins and lexical diffusion of the relevant constructions. Above all, the dissertation problematizes the conceptual and terminological foundations for the typological study of complementation, which, despite decades of intensive research, remain challenging to establish in a cross-linguistically satisfactory way.

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Schmidtke-Bode, Karsten: Complement clauses and complementation systems. a cross-linguistic study of grammatical organization. 2015.

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