Given that the main topics of the present research are:
T1. The meaning of functional projections at the nominal domain: D / Num
T2. The meaning of functional projections at the verbal / sentential domains: v / Asp / Neg / Deg / Voice
T3. The meaning of functional projections at the peripheral domain: Topic / Focus / Force / Voc
and that our initial hypothesis is that functional projections are not only responsible for the morphosyntactic well-formedness of sentences, but also for the compositional meaning attributed to them, the general goals we aim at investigating are the following:
G1. Do functional categories have an inherent semantic import? In particular, we will consider D / Num // v / Asp / Neg / Deg / Voice // Topic / Focus / Force / Voc, and their interrelationship.
G2. Can all these functional projections be semantically expletive? What does it mean for a functional category to be expletive? What are the repercussions for a general theory of grammar? We apply for a position of a PhD student related to this goal, because this is a new and promising area of research which has not been discussed much in the current literature. Therefore, a new project in this area could open up interesting theoretical and empirical perspectives and lead to new insights in the study of functional categories in linguistic theory.
G3. How are the meanings associated with these functional categories formally encoded? What is the division of labor between hard-core semantic meanings and sentence position, dynamic and discourse factors, pragmatic inferences, and prosodic markers?
G4. Is it possible to relate the presence or absence of different functional projections with specific semantic operations like lambda abstraction, type-shifting, functional application or semantic incorporation? In particular, are different type-shifting operations associated with specific functional categories? Can some interpretational effects of a particular type-shifting operation be derived from pragmatic factors/restrictions? For example, can the same functional projection, say DP, host both an existential and a iota operators?
G5. Are there crosscategorial semantic notions that are represented formally by means of the same functional projections in different domains? For example, we will investigate how degree modification or focus is expressed across nominal, verbal and peripheral domains and whether a similar functional category must be assumed across-the board. In particular, we will investigate whether Degree modification in the verbal domain has a parallel in the nominal domain, and DegP should be postulated in both.