Skip navigation

Marcel den Dikken

Marcel den Dikken is Professor in the Linguistics Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of Particles: On the Syntax of Verb-particle, Triadic, and Causative Constructions and The Structure of the Noun Phrase in Rotuman.

Titles by This Author

The Syntax of Predication, Predicate Inversion, and Copulas

In Relators and Linkers, Marcel den Dikken presents a syntax of predication and the inversion of the predicate around its subject, emphasizing meaningless elements (elements with no semantic load) that play an essential role in the establishment and syntactic manipulation of predication relationships. One such element, the RELATOR, mediates the relationship between a predicate and its subject in the base representation of predication structures. A second, the LINKER, connects the predicate to its subject in Predicate Inversion constructions. Den Dikken argues that all subject-predicate relationships are syntactically mediated by a RELATOR and that predication relationships in syntax are configurationally asymmetrical and non-directional. Discussing the inversion of the predicate around its subject and the distribution of LINKER elements surfacing between the inverted predicate and the subject, den Dikken presents an in-depth analysis of Predicate Inversion from the perspective of the minimalist theory of locality.Among the features by which Relators and Linkers distinguishes itself from past studies of predication is a detailed investigation of predication and Predicate Inversion inside the complex nominal phrase that makes a carefully documented case for the existence of two types of qualitative binominal noun phrases, one exploiting a predicate-specifier structure and the other employing a predicate-complement structure cum Predicate Inversion. Empirical data includes examples not only from English and Dutch but also from Hungarian, Hebrew, French, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and other languages. Den Dikken's analysis, cast in terms of the theory of generative grammar, fruitfully brings Chomskyan minimalist principles to bear on the discussion of predication and Predicate Inversion.