The pragmatics and syntax of the Finnish -han particle clitic
Palomaki, Jennimaria Kristiina
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This dissertation gives a pragmatic and syntactic account of the Finnish –han second position particle clitc. The pragmatic account of –han argues for a relevance theoretic approach to its polyfunctionality that is grounded in the distinction between procedural and conceptual meaning. I make the case that –han contributes to procedural meaning by communicating to addressee(s) the speaker’s belief that they have access to the information necessary to recover the intended interpretation. Through use of native speaker judgments and naturally occurring spontaneous Finnish speech, I show that –han is restricted from occurring in ‘out of the blue’ utterances and that the various functions attributed to it in previous research are by-products of the interpretive process its presence triggers. The syntactic account of -han proposes that –han heads a functional projection in the left-periphery of Finnish called ForceP (à la Lopez 2009). To derive correct word order in sentences where –han is attached to the right of a constituent originating in the lexical layer of the clause, I propose that movement occurs to the specifier of Spec-ForceP to satisfy an uninterpretable feature there. I assume the map of the Finnish clause proposed by Holmberg et al. (1993) and Holmberg and Nikanne (2002), taking into account the modifications proposed by Kaiser (2006). I also make the case that –han undergoes a type of local inversion, which may be prosodically motivated, with the functional head it immediately dominates when there is no movement into Spec-ForceP. I also propose a non-cartographic approach to the syntax of –han-containing sentences, which takes Zwart’s (2005, 2009) strictly derivational approach to clausal structure as its premise. The proposal is made that –han is a positional dependency marker, analogous to V2 (à la Zwart 2005), which emerges via the same derivational mechanism regardless of the material to which it is attached. This account has the benefit of allowing parallels to be drawn between different kinds of second position phenomena in two genetically unrelated languages. Finally I explore the implication of Lopez’s (2009) conception of the syntax-pragmatics interface for an account of –han. Since the research presented in this dissertation focuses on a single particle clitic from the Finnish particle clitic system, more work is needed to account for the discourse-pragmatics and syntax of the particle clitics of Finnish both independently and in combination with one another.