In order to bring some minimal amount of order to the chaos that almost inevitably attends the use of the word ‘existential’ in a linguistic investigation, the author reserved the term existential sentence (ES) to designate all and only those English sentences in which there appears an occurrence of the unstressed, non-deictic, ‘existential’ there. Thus the term will be used as a characterisation of a class of syntactic objects, not as a semantic description. With ES sentences including formations such as ‘There were several people talking’ and ‘There ensued a riot’, perhaps nowhere else do we find so clearly displayed the complexity and subtlety of the syntactic and semantic interactions which determine the nature of human language.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Do We Have to Have a There-Insertion Rule? 1. ES and the There-Insertion Analysis 2. Emonds’ Analysis 3. The PS Hypothesis 4. The Cleft Reduction Hypothesis 5. The Loc-Front Proposal Part 2: What Can Be Done About It? 6. Ontological, Locational, and Periphrastic ES 7. Verbal ES