A Minimalist analysis of three predicate types: lexical, functional, and null

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Linguistic Reseach
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Are unaccusatives verbal or non-verbal predicates? Baker (2003) suggests that they are nonverbal predicates and they are decomposed syntactically into a functional predicate and an adjective. However I argue in this paper that unaccusatives really involve verbal predicates and not functional predicates. I discuss three types of predicates: verbal predicate, functional adjectival predicate, and adjectival predicate. The evidence that can conclusively distinguish the type of predicate follows from tense and aspect morphological markings. Furthermore, I argue that a Minimalist analysis (Chomsky, 1995, 2002) can exactly explain the asymmetric unaccusative behavior in Arabic1. That’s, it simultaneously explains the phonological presence of the verbal predicate of the unaccusative on one hand and the absence of that predicate on another hand by means of satisfying the requirements of the two interface structures: phonological form (PF) and logical form (LF).